Israel Gaza: Biden hopes for ceasefire by next week


US President Joe Biden says he hopes to have a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza by Monday.

His comments come amid reports of some progress in indirect negotiations involving Israeli and Hamas officials.

It would involve aid deliveries to Gaza and the release of more hostages taken during the 7 October Hamas attacks.

Israel has not commented and Hamas officials have indicated the two sides are not as close to a ceasefire deal as Mr Biden suggested.

Qatar, which has been mediating in the talks alongside Egypt, said there was no deal to announce yet.

The Qatari foreign ministry spokesman, Majed al-Ansari, said Doha was “going to push for a pause before the beginning of Ramadan” and felt “hopeful, not necessarily optimistic”.

Israel launched a large-scale air and ground campaign in Gaza after Hamas gunmen killed about 1,200 people in southern Israel.

The attackers also took 253 people hostage, a number of whom have since been released.

The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip says at least 29,878 people have been killed in the territory since then – including 96 deaths in the past 24 hours – in addition to 70,215 who have been wounded.

According to Reuters news agency, quoting an unnamed source close to the talks, Hamas is still studying a draft framework, drawn by France, which would include a 40-day pause in all military operations and the exchange of Palestinians held in Israeli jails for Israeli hostages, at a ratio of 10 to one.

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