An Israeli delegation will soon arrive in Qatar to continue talks on a ceasefire in Gaza

Jerusalem (AFP) – On Saturday, Israel's war council gave the green light to send a delegation to Qatar soon, officials and local media said, to continue discussions in Paris in recent days aimed at reaching a new ceasefire agreement in Gaza, including the release of hostages.

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An Israeli delegation headed by Mossad chief David Barnia traveled to Paris on Friday, with his American and Egyptian counterparts and Qatar's prime minister in the French capital at the end of January.

Tzachi Hanegbi, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's national security adviser, told the Israeli “N12” channel on Saturday evening that “the delegation has returned from Paris, and maybe there is room to move towards an agreement.” Ahead of the War Council meeting on Saturday evening, he added, “The delegation requested that the War Council be briefed on the results of the Paris Summit, and that the War Council will meet by telephone this evening.”

Israeli media reported overnight that the war council had ended its meeting with the green light to send a delegation to Qatar in the coming days to continue these talks with the aim of agreeing to a ceasefire for several weeks, including the release of hostages. Release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Israel is insisting on the release of all hostages, including all women, in the October 7 attacks, but Hanekbi pointed out that “a deal like this does not mean the end of the war.”

In Tel Aviv, thousands of people gathered in “Kidnapped Square” on Saturday evening to demand that the government work to free the hostages in Gaza, journalists at Agence France-Presse said.

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“We are thinking about them all the time and we want them to return to us alive as soon as possible,” said Orna Tal, 60, a friend of Sachi Aiden, who was abducted from Kibbutz Nahal Oz. “We will demonstrate again. Again until they return.”

Another anti-government demonstration took place near the military headquarters in Tel Aviv, in which 18 people were arrested, police said.

To Rafa

In late November, a week-long ceasefire brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States allowed the release of more than 100 prisoners in Gaza and 240 Palestinian prisoners, including women and children.

Hamas is demanding a cease-fire, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, and the lifting of the blockade on the Palestinian territories.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Hamas's terms, vowing to continue the military campaign until “total victory” over the movement is achieved.

In a statement, Netanyahu said Saturday's meeting would discuss “next steps in the negotiations.”

The prime minister reiterated the need for troops to attack Rafah in southern Gaza, despite the consequences for hundreds of thousands of civilians, to avoid fighting in the rest of the region.

After the Paris talks, the United Nations warned that “early in the week, I will convene a group of ministers to approve operational plans in Rafah, including the evacuation of civilians.” Humanitarian disaster in the city.

An Agence France-Presse correspondent in Rafah said the city had been hit by at least six airstrikes on Saturday evening.

On Saturday, Israeli Chief of Staff Herzey Halevi toured the Gaza Strip and insisted that military action was the only option to rescue the hostages.

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Addressing soldiers, he said the fighting was a “surge” and “we must continue it vigorously… we must take advantage of it to free the hostages.”

According to the latest report released by the Hamas Health Ministry, 29,606 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza so far, most of them civilian women and minors, since the fighting began on October 7.

On that day, forces from the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, launched an attack from Gaza into southern Israel that killed at least 1,160 people, most of them civilians, according to a tally by Agence France-Presse, according to official Israeli data.

About 250 hostages were also taken during the attack, 130 of whom are still in Gaza, and 30 of whom are believed to be dead, Israel says.

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