Israel’s Prime Minister approves new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved a new round of Gaza ceasefire talks to take place in Doha and Cairo, his office said on Friday, days after the negotiations appeared stalled.

Since the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Monday demanding an “immediate ceasefire”, Hamas and Israel have traded blame for their failure to agree a deal.

Mediator Qatar said Tuesday that talks between Hamas and Israel on a Gaza truce and hostage release were continuing, but the warring sides and mediators have offered little information since.

Netanyahu’s office said the premier spoke to Mossad chief David Barnea about the talks, but declined elaborate on whether Barnea would be travelling to Doha or Cairo for the negotiations.

The war began when Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel that resulted in about 1,160 deaths, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel’s military has waged a retaliatory offensive against Hamas that has killed 32,623 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

Palestinian militants seized about 250 Israeli and foreign hostages during the October 7 attack on Israel, but dozens were released during a week-long truce in November.

Israel believes about 130 remain in Gaza, including 33 who are presumed dead — eight soldiers and 25 civilians.