Israeli Mossad chief travels to Paris to discuss Gaza ceasefire

Jerusalem, Jan 29 (IANS) A delegation led by the Chief of Israel's intelligence agency Mossad travelled to Paris for talks on a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas, an Israeli government official told the media.

The official, speaking on conditions of anonymity, said on Sunday that "significant gaps" have remained between Israel and Hamas, Xinhua news agency reported.

Contrary to reports in US media, he noted that "a deal is not near. Hamas didn't soften its position and more levers of pressure should be applied to Hamas".

According to the official, the US-led talks in Paris held on Sunday, aimed at reaching a deal to end the Gaza conflict, will be held with the participation of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Bill Burns, Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and negotiators from Egyptian and Israeli security agencies.

The Israeli official said Mossad Head David Barnea, accompanied by the Chief of the Shin Bet internal security agency Ronen Bar, led the delegation.

The objective of the meeting is "to bring up ideas and discuss proposals that will break the ongoing deadlock in the talks," he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said that his government will not agree to a deal that involves a full cessation of the conflict while Hamas remains in power in Gaza, and the escalation aims to "eliminate" Hamas.

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza on October 7, 2023, in response to Hamas's assault on communities in southern Israel, which killed about 1,200 people and around 240 people being kidnapped. Currently, more than 100 hostages are still held in Gaza by Hamas and other militant groups.

The deadly conflict has had a devastating impact on Gaza, with the Palestinian death toll from the ongoing Israeli attacks to 26,422 and 65,087 injured, according to the Gaza-based Health Ministry on Sunday.



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