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UN Chief Urges Israel and Hamas to Reach Ceasefire Deal in Gaza as War Looms

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United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as a Hamas delegation prepares to visit Cairo for renewed talks. Guterres urged the Israeli government and Hamas to reach an agreement in their negotiations to prevent the conflict from worsening exponentially. The UN chief’s comments come as CIA Director William Burns arrived in Cairo for meetings, which Egypt, Qatar, and the United States have been leading efforts to mediate between Israel and Hamas to broker a ceasefire and captive release in Gaza.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh discussed the latest Israeli proposal for a truce with Egyptian and Qatari mediators. The Palestinian group confirmed talks are scheduled to take place in the coming days with the aim of ending the war on Gaza. Hamas said it had received Israel’s latest position and would study it before submitting a reply. However, Hamas has stressed that it would not accept an agreement that does not lead to a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, and the unhindered return of displaced families to their homes.

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has voiced concern for civilians in the besieged enclave, warning that a looming Israeli ground offensive into Gaza’s southern city of Rafah would put the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians there at risk. Rafah has been the main gateway for aid into Gaza, which has been under a severe Israeli blockade that has brought the territory to the verge of famine. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to launch a full-scale attack against the city regardless of the outcome of the ceasefire talks.

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