Report: CIA chief to meet Netanyahu in hostage deal effort

 The head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plans to make a ‘last-ditch’ effort for a hostage deal when he speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, the Times of Israel has reported.

The story comes as Israel announced an evacuation of the southern Gaza city of Rafah in preparation for an expected military operation there.

William Burns ‘is working to find a way to keep hope alive for a deal even as Israel begins to evacuate civilians from parts of Rafah in advance of a likely military operation,’ the report said.

On Sunday, a further round of indirect negotiations on a ceasefire between delegates of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas group and mediators from Egypt and Qatar in Cairo ended without any tangible results.

Burns had accompanied the talks. Egypt, Qatar and the United States are acting as mediators in the efforts to end the Gaza war.

Hamas announced on Sunday via its Telegram channel that its delegation had delivered a response to the mediators’ proposals and discu
ssed them with the representatives of Egypt and Qatar.

The delegates left Cairo on Sunday evening to consult with the organization’s leaders in Qatar. Burns had also travelled to Qatar for talks.

On the table is a proposal from the mediators that envisages a multi-stage agreement between Israel and Hamas. This should lead to the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas, the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons and an end to the Gaza war.

Source: Ghana News Agency