Hamas Delegation Arrives in Cairo for Ceasefire Talks
A Hamas team arrived in Cairo on Sunday for talks with Egyptian mediators on a possible truce in Gaza, an airport official and state news agency MENA said.
The delegation is led by senior Hamas official Ezzat al-Rishq, the sources said.
Egypt, the traditional broker in conflicts between Israel and Hamas, had invited Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to gather in Cairo to thrash out a durable truce in Gaza based on an Egyptian ceasefire proposal.
Israel, however, has said it will not send anyone to the talks.
"Hamas has proven that it breaches any agreement reached right away, as happened five times in previous truces," Israel's deputy foreign minister Tzahi HaNegbi told AFP on Saturday.
"It is therefore unclear at this stage what benefit Israel might see for participating in an attempt to reach agreements, based on the Egyptian
Another Palestinian team, including the Palestinian Authority's spy chief Majid Faraj, arrived late on Saturday for the negotiations, which are expected to start later on Sunday.
Representatives of terror organization Islamic Jihad are also expected in the Egyptian capital as is US Middle East envoy Frank Lowenstein and the Middle East Quartet's peace envoy Tony Blair.
The talks will focus on ways to end the conflict in Gaza, which has so far extended for twenty-seven days and killed sixty-four Israeli soldiers. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have fired 3,127 rockets on Israeli civilians since the operation began, the IDF revealed Saturday.
The Palestinian Arab delegations are expected to press their unprecedented set of demands for the end of virtually all transportation and import restrictions on Gaza - designed to keep Hamas from re-arming - and the release of terrorist prisoners.
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday that an Egyptian truce plan provided a "real chance" to end the Gaza conflict.
When the latest Gaza war erupted last month, Egypt cobbled together a ceasefire proposal, quickly backed by Israel, Arab governments, the United States and the United Nations.
Hamas however rejected it, claiming it hadn't been consulted.