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Hamas accepts Egypt and Qatar Gaza ceasefire proposal.

Photo : Reuters

Hamas, the militant group governing the Gaza Strip, has accepted a ceasefire proposal aimed at ending the ongoing conflict with Israel. This decision came after Egypt and Qatar mediated discussions. Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, conveyed the group's acceptance of the ceasefire to Qatar's prime minister and Egypt's intelligence chief.

The Hamas official stated that now it's Israel's turn to decide whether to accept the ceasefire agreement or disrupt it. The exact terms of the proposed ceasefire were not immediately disclosed.

On the Israeli side, an unnamed official mentioned that Hamas had approved a modified Egyptian proposal, which Israel found unacceptable due to certain "far-reaching" provisions. This Israeli official voiced concerns that Hamas might be attempting to depict Israel as the party refusing to agree to a ceasefire.

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If this ceasefire takes effect, it would mark the first substantial halt in hostilities since a temporary pause in the fighting last November. Previous attempts to broker ceasefires have failed, despite efforts to secure the release of hostages and facilitate the entry of aid into Gaza.

The news of Hamas accepting the ceasefire was met with jubilation in Rafah, a city in the southern Gaza Strip. People celebrated in the streets, expressing relief and chanting religious phrases. There were prior concerns that any Israeli military action in Rafah could jeopardize the ceasefire negotiations.

Rafah has served as a refuge for many of Gaza's residents, who have been displaced by the prolonged conflict with Israel. Negotiations between Israel and Hamas have been ongoing for weeks, with discussions centered around ending the violence and securing the release of prisoners held on both sides.

The ceasefire proposal signals a potential respite in the violence that has plagued the region for months, offering a glimmer of hope for the residents of Gaza and Israel alike.

May 7, 2024 12:36 p.m. 4481

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