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CIA, Mossad, Qatari officials to meet over hostage swap negotiations: Report

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published May 24,2024
(File Photo)

Israeli media reported on Friday that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director William Burns will meet in the upcoming days with Mossad chief David Barnea and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in an effort to "revive talks for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas."

The daily Times of Israel reported that "the high-level meeting will be the first since negotiations fell apart two weeks ago after Hamas responded to a proposal crafted by American, Qatari, and Egyptian mediators with amendments deemed unacceptable by both the United States and Israel."

The Israeli newspaper did not provide any details about the exact date of the meeting nor in which country it would be held.

However, it said that "it is unclear whether Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel will also attend the upcoming Europe meeting, as he has in the past, but Cairo will remain involved in the mediation process."

On May 6, during the last round of negotiations, the Palestinian resistance group Hamas said that it had accepted a Gaza cease-fire proposal drawn up by Egypt and Qatar.

But Israel said the truce offer accepted by Hamas did not meet its key demands and decided to push ahead with an operation in Rafah in southern Israel to apply "military pressure on Hamas with the goal of making progress on freeing the hostages and the other war aims."

Israel continued its brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, 2023, despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in the enclave.

At least 35,800 Palestinians have been killed, the vast majority of whom have been women and children, and 80,200 others injured since last October following an attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

More than seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which has ordered it to ensure that its forces do not commit acts of genocide and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.