Officials say talks on an Israel-Hamas ceasefire deal are underway after the killings at the Gaza aid base.

Mahmoud Essa/AP

Palestinians walk past the destruction from an Israeli attack on the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, February 29, 2024.



CNN

Talks to reach a cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel to end fighting by Ramadan appear to be ongoing. More than 100 Palestinians Officials familiar with the discussions said they were killed while trying to get food in Gaza City on Thursday.

U.S. officials said on Friday there were no signs of a significant derailment of talks between Qatar, Egypt, Israel and Qatar, Egypt, Israel and last week in Paris and Doha where Hamas is expected to respond. to us. On Thursday, a Hamas official warned that the talks could suffer.

CNN reached out to several Hamas officials about a possible deal but did not receive a response.

After dozens of Palestinian civilians were killed in Gaza on Thursday, US officials said the chaotic scenes had added urgency to hostage and ceasefire talks.

On Friday afternoon, President Joe Biden called for an “immediate cease-fire.”

“We are trying to work out an agreement between Israel and Hamas regarding the return of the hostages, an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for at least the next six weeks, and an increase in aid to the Gaza Strip,” Biden said during a meeting. With Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

A senior administration official said earlier Friday that the U.S. was still trying to get a deal in place by Ramadan — now a week away — as Israel warned its forces would expand its military operations in Rafah. Absence of a contract.

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Biden had said earlier in the week that he hoped there would be a cease-fire in Gaza by Monday, but after Friday he offered a mixed assessment of that possibility: “It looks like we're still there — it's not there yet. I think we'll get there, but it's not there yet. It may not be there yet.” .” Asked if a ceasefire agreement would never be reached, he told reporters, “I'm still waiting for it. It's not over until it's over.

The president said on Thursday that the deaths at the aid base could make ceasefire talks more difficult.

Asked if he was worried the deaths would complicate negotiations, Biden replied: “Oh, I know it will.”

On Thursday, Biden spoke with the leaders of Qatar and Egypt — the central mediators in the talks.

Technical teams are working on key elements of a potential deal in Doha this week, officials familiar with the negotiations say. On Tuesday, Qatari spokesman Majeed Al-Ansari said, “The numbers, rates and [IDF] Force Movements.”

It is believed that Hamas would demand that Israel release a higher proportion of Palestinian prisoners if Hamas were to release hostages of female IDF soldiers at Israel's request.

CNN foreign affairs analyst Barak Ravit Reported for Axios On Friday, as part of Hamas's response, Israel expected a list of hostages still alive and more details on the number of Palestinian prisoners it wants freed before entering further negotiations.

“We hope that the areas of difference between the two sides can be bridged and a ceasefire can be achieved at least temporarily leading to a permanent one. [ceasefire],” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said Friday, warning that failure to reach an agreement between Israel and Hamas before Ramadan would aggravate the Arab and Muslim world.

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“Everybody realizes the importance that we have won this even before Ramadan begins,” he told the Antalya Diplomatic Forum in Turkey.

“If this conflict continues in Ramadan, I think it will have very bad consequences in which emotions will be further inflamed,” he added.

Negotiators have said an agreement will be implemented in several phases, and that once an initial agreement is reached, it could lead to a six-week standoff with a group of freed Israeli hostages, including women and children. Elderly and sick hostages — in exchange for a smaller number of Palestinian prisoners than Hamas initially demanded.

During a ceasefire, negotiations would take place on important topics such as the release of Israeli soldiers held hostage, long-term Palestinian prisoners, the withdrawal of IDF forces, and a permanent end to the war. problems.

This story was updated Friday with additional details.

CNN's Kevin Lipdock contributed to this report.

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