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Israelis, Hamas in Qatar for proximity talks on ceasefire

27/2/2024 6:18
        Israeli officials headed on Monday to Qatar, where the ruling emir separately met the chief of Hamas, as the enemies in the Gaza war closed in on a ceasefire-and-hostage deal that Washington says is now within reach.
        
        The presence of both sides for so-called proximity talks - meeting mediators separately while in the same city - suggested negotiations were further along than at any time since a big push at the start of February, when Israel rejected a Hamas counter-offer for a four-and-a-half-month truce.
        
        In public, both sides continued to take positions far apart on the ultimate aims of a truce, while blaming each other for holding up the talks.
        
        Israel says it will agree only to a temporary pause in fighting to secure the release of hostages. Hamas says it will not free them without an agreement that leads to a permanent end to the war.
        
        After meeting Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the reclusive head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, said his group had embraced mediators' efforts to find an end to the war, and accused Israel of stalling at while Gazans die under siege.
        



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