Israel Awaits Hamas Response to Ceasefire Proposal

Israel Awaits Hamas Response to Ceasefire Proposal
Israel Awaits Hamas Response to Ceasefire Proposal

Five days after Hamas accepted a key part of the plan, two officials from the Palestinian fighter group said the group was awaiting Israel's response to its latest proposal.

Any Gaza ceasefire deal must allow Israel to resume fighting until its objectives are met, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as talks over a US plan aimed at ending the nine-month-old war were expected to restart.

Netanyahu was scheduled to hold consultations on the next steps in negotiating the three-phase plan that was presented in May by US President Joe Biden and is being mediated by Qatar and Egypt. 

It aims to end the war and free around 120 Israeli hostages being held in Gaza.

Hamas has dropped a key demand that Israel first commit to a permanent ceasefire before it would sign an agreement. Instead, it said it would allow negotiations to achieve that throughout the six-week first phase, a Hamas source said on condition of anonymity.

But Netanyahu said he insisted the deal must not prevent Israel from resuming fighting until its war objectives are met.

"The plan that has been agreed to by Israel and which has been welcomed by President Biden will allow Israel to return hostages without infringing on the other objectives of the war," Netanyahu said.

There was no letup in fighting inside Gaza, where the Israeli military renewed orders for residents and displaced families in several districts in Gaza City to leave their homes. Some residents said they were surprised by the sounds of tank shells and gunfire from Israeli drones, as some managed to flee and others were trapped at home.

Palestinian health officials later said an Israeli air strike on a house in Jabalia on the northern edge of the Gaza Strip had killed at least 10 people, with many wounded and others still missing.