update deskIsrael at War

Israelis head to Cairo for another round of hostage talks

The War Cabinet approved sending the delegation to the Egyptian capital amid increasing pressure to secure an agreement.

Relatives of Israelis held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza take part in an installation in Tel Aviv to mark six months since the Hamas-led Oct. 7 massacre, April 7, 2024. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.
Relatives of Israelis held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza take part in an installation in Tel Aviv to mark six months since the Hamas-led Oct. 7 massacre, April 7, 2024. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.

Israel’s War Cabinet on Sunday decided to send a delegation to Cairo to participate in the latest round of negotiations aimed at securing the release of the hostages held by Hamas.

Mossad Director David Barnea will again lead the team as American, Egyptian, Israeli and Qatari mediators try to build on other summits held in recent months in the city as well as in Doha and Paris.

Hamas has stuck to its maximalist positions throughout the process, demands that Jerusalem has called “delusional” and which include a “permanent ceasefire,” an Israeli military withdrawal from the coastal enclave, a return of displaced Gazans and the release of hundreds of terrorists from Israeli prisons.

Jerusalem has also maintained its war goals of freeing the hostages, eliminating Hamas as a political and military force in Gaza and ensuring that the Strip can never again threaten Israel.

There are 133 hostages remaining from the 253 taken during the bloody Hamas-led invasion on Oct. 7. The IDF on Friday night conducted a special operation to retrieve the body of murdered Israeli hostage Elad Katzir from Khan Yunis.

An Israeli official admitted to Kan News that the intensifying domestic protests demanding that the government agree to a deal with Hamas are raising the pressure around achieving a hostage release agreement.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden dispatched CIA Director William Burns to Cairo for the talks and on Friday urged the leaders of Egypt and Qatar to apply pressure on Hamas to agree to a ceasefire and hostages-for-terrorists release deal.

A senior Biden administration official told Reuters the president wrote letters to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, in which “he urged them to secure commitments from Hamas to agree and abide by a deal.”

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