Israel’s spy chief was headed to Cairo Tuesday for talks with his Egyptian and United States counterparts on a Gaza truce proposal, Israeli officials told AFP, as discord mounts over the war.
Mossad director David Barnea will meet CIA chief William Burns, Israeli officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the discussions.
They will be joined in the Egyptian capital by Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who also serves as the country’s top diplomat and has brokered previous Gaza ceasefires.
Washington sources familiar with developments confirmed Monday that Burns is expected in Cairo for talks on a Qatari-brokered truce proposal, after Israel rejected the initial response last week from Gaza rulers Hamas.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to keep up Israel’s campaign to destroy Hamas by sending troops into Gaza’s southern city of Rafah, where some 1.4 million people have sought shelter.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Monday that the US does “not support a full-scale military operation” without a “credible plan” for civilians in Rafah.
Miller’s remarks came hours after Israeli forces rescued two hostages held in Gaza in an operation accompanied by blistering air strikes which killed around 100 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.
Hamas has said multiple hostages have been killed in recent Israeli air strikes on Gaza, a claim AFP is unable to independently verify.
Militants took around 250 people captive during Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel which sparked the war. Following a November truce, around 130 remain in Gaza, of whom 29 are presumed dead, according to Israeli officials.
The Hamas attack resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.
At least 28,340 people, mostly women and children, have died in Israel’s relentless bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza, according to the health ministry