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Israel backs Gaza ceasefire agreement, Hamas to decide

Israel backs Gaza ceasefire agreement, Hamas to decide Israel backs Gaza ceasefire agreement (photo: Getty Images)

Israel has approved a preliminary text of an agreement on a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the release of hostages. Now the Hamas militants must agree to this agreement, reports the Associated Press.

International mediators have been working for weeks to reach an agreement to suspend hostilities before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan around March 10. The agreement is also likely to allow for the provision of aid to hundreds of thousands of residents in the northern Gaza Strip who are at risk of starvation due to the fighting.

A senior US administration official told the Associated Press that the day before the talks, Israel had "more or less accepted" the deal, which includes a six-week ceasefire and the release by Hamas of hostages considered vulnerable, including the sick, wounded, elderly and women.

"Right now, the ball is in the court of Hamas and we are continuing to push this as hard as we possibly can," the US official added.

Officials from Israel and Hamas have not yet commented on this information. A senior Egyptian official told the Associated Press that mediators Egypt and Qatar are expected to receive a response from Hamas during talks in Cairo scheduled for March 3.

Israel's war with Hamas

In October 2023, Hamas militants attacked Israel from the Gaza Strip. According to official figures, in the first days of the attack, militants killed 1,200 civilians and soldiers and abducted about 250 people.

In late October, the Israeli Defense Forces launched a ground military operation in the Gaza Strip, which continues to this day. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that the goal of the operation is the complete destruction of Hamas and the release of hostages.

In early February, Netanyahu said that the IDF's complete victory was close. He also announced the IDF's readiness to launch a ground invasion of the city of Rafah near the border with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip.

The latest ceasefire talks failed after the Israeli Prime Minister rejected Hamas' proposal for a 4 1/2-month truce that would have ended with the withdrawal of Israeli troops.

Recently, Israel threatened an offensive on Rafah if Hamas did not release the hostages before Ramadan.