Ismail Haniyeh
Ismail Haniyehצילום: רויטרס

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said on Wednesday that the terrorist group was sticking to its conditions for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, including an Israeli military withdrawal, Reuters reported.

"We are committed to our demands: the permanent ceasefire, comprehensive and complete withdrawal of the enemy out of the Gaza Strip, the return of all displaced people to their homes, allowing all aid needed for our people in Gaza, rebuilding the Strip, lifting the blockade and achieving an honorable prisoner exchange deal," Haniyeh said in a televised speech marking Al-Quds Day.

Israeli officials visited Egypt earlier this week as part of the efforts to secure a deal that would see a ceasefire in Gaza in exchange for Hamas releasing the hostages it has been holding in Gaza since October 7, but there has not been a breakthrough thus far.

Israel had said it was interested only in a temporary truce to free hostages. Hamas has said it will let them go only as part of a deal to permanently end the war.

Earlier this week, a senior diplomatic official in Israel expressed optimism that a deal to return the hostages held by Hamas is possible in the near future.

"If Hamas is interested in a deal - we can move forward. We have come a long way this time as well, there is potential for progress in the coming days," said the source.

Last week, Hamas’ leader abroad, Khaled Mashaal, said that the organization "will only release prisoners (hostages) when we achieve our goals and we aggressively lead the negotiation process in a proper diplomatic maneuver."

In an address at an event in Jordan, Mashaal stated, "in the negotiations, we insist on the end of the aggression, a withdrawal from Gaza, the return of displaced civilians to the northern Gaza Strip, the distribution of humanitarian aid, shelter, the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, and the end of the siege."