Hamas hostages – Egypt threatens to withdraw as mediator

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Following the publication of disturbing video footage of the kidnapping of several Israeli soldiers during the Hamas massacre on October 7, there could now be new momentum in negotiations over the release of the hostages still in the hands of the Islamists. On Thursday evening, Israel’s War Cabinet instructed the negotiating team to continue efforts to secure the release of the abductees. However, Egypt is now threatening to withdraw as a mediator.

“Attempts to question and insult Egypt’s mediation efforts (…) could lead to Egypt’s complete withdrawal from mediation in the current conflict,” Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt’s state information service, said on social media. He was responding to allegations surfaced in the media that Egyptian mediators had secretly changed Israel and Hamas’s proposals to make an agreement more realistic. Israel and the US were shocked by the accusations, which Egypt denies.

For its part, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday called on Egypt to do everything possible to ensure that humanitarian aid flows to the Gaza Strip. Food and medicine destined for the Gaza Strip would be piled on the Egyptian side. Blinken told a hearing in the House of Representatives that the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip remained closed after its seizure by the Israeli army on May 7.

Dispute over blocking aid deliveries
Fighting at the border crossing has complicated the delivery of aid, but supplies can still get through, Blinken said, apparently referring to the Kerem Shalom crossing near Rafah, where some deliveries continued. “So we have to find a way to ensure that the aid that would go through Rafah gets through safely, but we urge our Egyptian partners to do everything they can to ensure that the aid flows,” Blinken said .

Egypt: Israeli attacks endanger truck drivers
Egyptian security sources said Egypt could not import aid through Rafah as this would mean accepting the Israeli army’s presence at the border crossing, which Egypt rejects. For Egypt to agree to resume operations in Rafah, a Palestinian presence on the Gaza side of the border crossing is required, Egypt’s state information service said in a statement on Wednesday.

Egypt’s foreign minister said Monday that the Israeli military presence and combat operations were endangering truck drivers. Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the delay was Egypt’s fault

Source: Krone

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