Israeli tanks enter Rafah and control border crossing: Live updates

Israel stepped up attacks on the southern city of Rafah on Monday, hours after Hamas announced it would accept the terms of a ceasefire plan proposed by Egyptian and Qatari mediators.

Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office said that although the new proposal did not meet Israel’s demands, it would continue to send a working delegation to negotiations in the hope of reaching an acceptable agreement. Qatar also announced it would send a delegation to the talks in Cairo.

As Israeli forces carry out offensives in eastern Rafah, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that the war cabinet had unanimously decided that Israel would continue military operations in eastern Rafah to put pressure on Hamas. The agency said the decision was aimed at furthering all of Israel’s war objectives, including the release of hostages.

Khalil al-Haya, a senior Hamas official, said in an interview with NDMT that the proposal Hamas is ready to accept includes three phases of 42 days each, stressing that the main goal is a permanent ceasefire. .

Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’s political wing, first explained Hamas’ new position in a post on the group’s Telegram channel at 7:36 p.m. in Israel. His statement came hours after Israel ordered some people in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, to evacuate ahead of a promised attack, and Hamas ordered some people in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, to evacuate ahead of a promised offensive. -The announcement was made the day after a rocket was fired near the Shalom intersection. Killed four soldiers.

Ismail Haniyeh in Tehran in…Vahid Salemi/Related Press

Haniyeh said he had informed the Qatari prime minister and Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate that Hamas had accepted “their proposal.” There was no immediate comment from Egypt.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller confirmed that Hamas had “announced a response” and that the United States was reviewing it with regional partners.

A Hamas negotiator team left Cairo on Sunday after negotiations stalled and they could not reach an agreement with mediators on Israel’s latest offer.

The main obstacle to indirect negotiations brokered by Qatar and Egypt is the length of the ceasefire. Hamas has called for a permanent ceasefire, which would effectively end the seven-month war, but Israel has called for a temporary halt in the fighting that would allow it to exchange hostages held in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners. wants it to stop.

Al-Haya, who led a Hamas delegation in direct talks in Cairo, said the new proposals included a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the return of displaced people to their homes, and a “real and serious” peace exchange. He said it also included. Palestinian POW hostage.

In the latest offer, Israel made several concessions, including agreeing to the return of displaced Palestinians to northern Gaza and reducing the number of hostages it would accept for release in the early stages of an agreement.

“We will review each response, respond on very serious issues, and take every opportunity to negotiate to secure the release of the hostages,” Israeli military chief spokesman Maj. Gen. Daniel Hagari said at a press conference Monday night. We will make the most of it.” core mission. But he also said that the Israeli military would “continue operations” in Gaza.

The Israeli military ordered the evacuation of more than 100,000 Palestinians from parts of Rafah on Monday morning. Israeli leaders have vowed for months to invade the city to root out Hamas forces, raising international concerns about the safety of the 1.4 million people sheltered there.

michael crowley and aaron boxerman Contributed to the report.

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