Israeli PM Naftali Bennet meets Egyptian intel chief

Israeli PM Naftali Bennet meets Egyptian intel chief to discuss Gaza
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Israel’s PM Naftali Bennett met with a senior Egyptian official in Jerusalem on Wednesday to discuss the ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas.
Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett met the Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate Abbas Kamel during an official meeting in Jerusalem on August 18 2021 [source: Getty]

Egypt's intelligence chief on Wednesday paid a rare visit to Israel to discuss the ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas that followed an 11-day war in May, Israel announced.

Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Egyptian Intelligence head Abbas Kamel in Jerusalem. 

Kamel is the first senior Egyptian official to meet with Bennet since he entered office. 

Bennett's office gave few details about Wednesday's talks with Kamel, saying they focused on mutual security and economic issues as well as "Egyptian media in the Gaza security situation".

The PM's office said Egyptian official Abbas Kamel also invited the Israeli leader to visit Egypt in the coming weeks.

Later on Wednesday, Kamel visited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank. 

Egypt has played a key mediation role between Israel and Hamas over the years. 

The most recent conflict between Israel and Hamas ended in May, but the sides appear to have reached no agreements beyond a halt in fighting.

Hamas demands an easing in an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has crippled the local economy and the resumption of hundreds of millions of dollars of badly needed assistance from Qatar.

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Israel has demanded the return of the remains of two soldiers killed in a 2014 war as well as two Israeli civilians believed to be held by Hamas.

So-called incendiary balloons have been sent into Israel from Gaza in recent weeks and more recently a rocket was fired into Israel this week, the first time since the May bombardment of the Palestinian enclave. 

Israel has also not ceased its devastating blockade on Gaza.

Bennett, who often accused his predecessor, Benjamin Netanytahu, of being too soft on Hamas, came under criticism on Wednesday for what some Israelis have seen as a show of restraint, for not responding to the balloons sent by activists. 

But at a news conference, he defended his decision, saying he would not allow Israel's enemies to determine its actions.

“We will react in the time, place and conditions that suit us,” he said.