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Hamas claims it accepted Gaza ceasefire proposal

An Israeli official said Egypt “unilaterally stretched all the parameters,” adding that the terms were unacceptable to Jerusalem.

(JNS) Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh informed Qatar and Egypt that the terror group had accepted a ceasefire proposal by mediators, Reuters reported on Monday night.

According to a statement issued by Hamas, Haniyeh conveyed his acceptance to Qatar’s prime minister and Egypt’s intelligence chief.

A Hamas source told Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya that the terror group agreed to a permanent end to the war and a complete lifting of the Gaza blockade, terms that Israel has repeatedly denounced as “delusional.”

There was no immediate official comment from the Israeli government on the matter. However, an unnamed official cited by Ynet charged that “the Egyptians unilaterally stretched all the parameters so that Hamas would agree,” adding that the terms were unacceptable to Jerusalem.

Another official told the outlet that “this is an exercise by Hamas meant to present Israel as the refuser.” The proposal is unknown to Israel and the U.S. and did not come up in Netanyahu’s phone conversation with U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday, stressed the senior political official.

Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told reporters at a briefing on Monday night that Jerusalem “considers every answer very seriously and will exhaust every possibility for negotiations and the return of the hostages to their homes as quickly as possible.”

“At the same time, we continue to operate in the Gaza Strip and will continue to do so,” added Hagari.

Meanwhile, U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller confirmed to journalists in Washington that the Biden administration had received Hamas’s official answer and was studying it.

“We have only received a response in the last hour, 90 minutes, and as I said, are going through it now and are discussing it with partners in the region, so I don’t want to characterize the nature of that response just yet,” stated Miller.

Asked to comment on the developments in the Middle East, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris refused comment on Monday, telling reporters, “Shrimp and grits. You wanted to know? Shrimp and grits.”

Earlier on Monday, sources in Hamas told the Qatari Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news outlet that the terrorist organization decided to withdraw from talks on a hostages-for-ceasefire-and-terrorists-release deal with Israel.

After consulting with other terrorist groups, Hamas postponed the return of its delegation to Cairo and suspended its participation “pending the results of the mediators’ efforts,” the report said.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed added that the Hamas leadership “received communications from the Egyptian side demanding no military escalation and that it be given the opportunity to contain the crisis.”

The talks reportedly collapsed over the weekend as Hamas is sticking to its demand to end the war, which is unacceptable to Israel. Jerusalem’s latest offer to Hamas was described as “extraordinarily generous” by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a recent visit to the region.

On Sunday afternoon, Hamas terrorists fired 14 mortar shells from the Rafah area of southern Gaza at Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, killing four Israeli soldiers and seriously wounding at least three others.

U.S. President Joe Biden has dispatched Central Intelligence Agency director William Burns to the Middle East for emergency diplomatic shuttling to save the truce talks—meeting with mediators in Cairo and Doha before a session with Israeli officials in Jerusalem on Monday.

The trip to Israel’s capital was part of a last-ditch effort by the CIA chief to salvage a hostage deal as the Israel Defense Forces prepares for a major military offensive against the last Hamas bastion of Rafah.

In the strongest signal yet that the operation is moving forward, the IDF on Sunday began calling on residents of the city’s eastern areas to evacuate to a new, expanded humanitarian zone in Al-Mawasi.

On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned of “worrying signs” that Hamas has no intention of agreeing to any deal with the Jewish state.

Hamas’s refusal “means action in Rafah and the entire Strip in the near future,” Gallant said.

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