A delegation of senior Egyptian intelligence officers arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday as part of Cairo’s efforts to mediate a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the terrorist group controlling the coastal enclave, Egyptian and Palestinian media reported.

The delegation, headed by Gen. Ayman Badia, the deputy chief of the Egyptian General Intelligence Services, comes during an increase in tensions between Israel and Hamas.

Recent days have seen an increase in rocket fire on southern Israel, as well as in what has come to be known as “balloon terrorism,” where Gaza terrorists send balloons carrying explosives over the border into Israel.

IDF warplanes struck several Hamas sites in Gaza after midnight Sunday, following rocket fire at Israeli communities near the volatile frontier.

The military said aircraft bombed several targets, including “a training camp and military infrastructure.”

Egyptian sources told Israel Hayom that the delegation visited Israel first, where they met on Sunday with high-ranking defense officials.

Israel and Egypt maintain close security ties. Cairo has been instrumental in the de-escalation efforts vis-à-vis Hamas over the past few years.

Hamas confirmed that its leadership in Gaza plans to meet with Egyptian officials. Palestinian Islamic Jihad, however, initially denied the delegation’s presence in Gaza but later relented.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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