Israel, Egypt hold talks toward Gaza 'permanent ceasefire'

Palestinians from Zawaraa family hold candles as they sit in a makeshift tent amid the rubble of their houses which were destroyed by Israeli air strikes during the Israeli Palestinian fighting in Gaza

Egypt dispatched intelligence officials to Israel and the Palestinian Territories to build on the ceasefire and resolve the issue of prisoners between Israel and Hamas.

"President (Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi instructed the general intelligence chief to discuss with the Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) and concerned authorities the fixing of a permanent ceasefire and the latest developments on the Palestinian front", Egyptian security officials told news agency AFP.

Motegi had telephone talks with the foreign ministers of both sides earlier this week, offering assistance to Gaza and also requesting them to continue a ceasefire.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was also expected in Cairo for talks, senior Egyptian security officials said, without providing further details.

At least 230 Palestinians were killed, including 65 children and 39 women, and 1,710 people wounded, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

Heavy construction equipment is used to sift through rubble to uncover valuables before it is transported away from the scene of a building destroyed in an airstrike prior to a cease-fire that halted an 11-day war between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel.

Ashkenazi has also assured that the Benjamin Netanyahu-led government will also discuss the terms to repatriate the Israeli prisoners held by the Hamas group in Gaza.

Since Israel's 2014 invasion of the Gaza Strip, the Islamist group has held the bodies of Israeli soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, although Hamas has never confirmed their deaths. "It means providing health services to people who have been injured, but also supporting the health facilities that have been damaged".

Hamas has pledged not to touch "a single cent" of worldwide aid to rebuild Gaza.

A bitter divide between Hamas and Fatah has long plagued Palestinian politics, but analysts say the latest escalation has served to unite the geographically fragmented Palestinian community in a way not seen in years.

Kamel will also discuss the situation in Jerusalem and ways to ease tensions in the holy city, including a loosening of Israeli restrictions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and how to prevent the planned eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem, the official said.

Earlier Thursday, the UN Human Rights Council made a decision to create an open-ended global investigation into violations surrounding the latest Gaza violence, and into the "systematic" abuses in the Palestinian territories and inside Israel.

"Air strikes in such densely populated areas resulted in a high level of civilian fatalities and injuries, as well as the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure", Bachelet said.



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