A Palestinian rides a horse-drawn cart through a debris-strewn street near a building destroyed by Israeli air strikes, in Gaza City May 5, 2019.
(photo credit: SUHAIB SALEM / REUTERS)
Egyptian intelligence officials arrived in the Gaza Strip on Thursday to pursue discussions with Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders on ways of preserving the latest ceasefire understandings with Israel.
The visit comes four days after the Gaza-based groups announced another ceasefire with Israel after last week’s flare-up of violence. The ceasefire announcement was made following talks between Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders Yahya Sinwar and Ziad al-Nakhalah with Egyptian intelligence officials in Cairo.
Palestinian sources said that last week’s ceasefire was reached thanks to mediation efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations.
According to the sources, the Egyptian security delegation, headed by Ahmed Abdel Khaleq, who is in charge of the “Palestine portfolio” in Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, will hold talks in the Gaza Strip with leaders of several Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The talks will focus on the need to implement the ceasefire understandings that were reached with Israel under the auspices of the Egyptians earlier this year, and which call for easing Israeli restrictions imposed on the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave, the sources added.
The Egyptian delegation’s visit came hours after Sinwar returned to the Gaza Strip from Cairo.
Hamas said on Thursday that during his stay in Cairo, Sinwar held several meetings with the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, Gen. Abbas Kamel, and other senior intelligence officials. The talks focused on ending the Israeli “aggression” on the Gaza Strip, Hamas said in a statement.
The Hamas delegation “expressed the resistance’s commitment to defend our people and to the implementation of the understandings to immediately lift the siege [on the Gaza Strip],” Hamas said.
The statement added that the Hamas delegation held talks with Islamic Jihad officials who were also in Cairo and discussed with them “ways to strengthen the resistance of our people and develop their capabilities to force the enemy to submit to our will.”
Hamas and Islamic Jihad also discussed the “national plan to confront the ‘deal of the century’ and ways of restoring national unity,” the statement said in reference to US President Donald Trump’s upcoming plan for peace in the Middle East.
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