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CAIRO: Hamas said on Tuesday that an Israeli proposal on a ceasefire in its aggression in Gaza met none of the demands of Palestinian factions.

The proposal was delivered to Hamas by Egyptian and Qatari mediators at talks in Cairo aimed at finding a way out of the devastating war in the Palestinian enclave, now in its seventh month.

Israeli forces meanwhile stepped up bombardments on Deir Al-Balah and Rafah in central and southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, two areas they have not so far invaded, medics and residents said.

An airstrike killed a municipal chief in Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, Hamas said. Israel said he was a military officer.

Security Council reviews Palestinian bid for full UN membership

The talks in Cairo, also attended by the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency William Burns, have so far failed reach a breakthrough towards pausing the war.

Hamas said on Tuesday a new Israeli proposal failed to meet its demands.

“The movement (Hamas) is interested in reaching an agreement that puts an end to the aggression on our people, despite that the Israeli position remains intransigent and it didn’t meet any of the demands of our people and our resistance,” Hamas said in a statement.

However, it said it would study the proposal further and deliver its response to the mediators.

Hamas officials had told Reuters on Monday that the group has rejected the Israeli ceasefire proposal and that no progress had been made at the talks.

Israel’s Netanyahu says ‘there is a date’ for Rafah invasion

Hamas wants any agreement to secure an end to the Israeli military aggression, a withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, and to allow displaced people to return to their homes across the enclave.

Israel wants to secure the release of hostages seized by Hamas in the October 7 cross-border raid that triggered the conflict and to neutralise Hamas as a threat.

It has said it is keen to reach a prisoners-for-hostages deal by which it would free a number of Palestinians jailed in its prisons in return for the hostages in Gaza, but it was not ready to end the military offensive.

Rafah invasion

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday a date had been set for an invasion of Rafah, which it says is the last Hamas stronghold in Gaza.

Rafah is also the last refuge for Palestinian civilians displaced by relentless Israeli bombardments that have flattened their home neighbourhoods.

Right time to do a hostage deal, says Israel’s defence minister

More than one million people are crammed into the southern city in desperate conditions, short of food, water and shelter, and foreign governments and organisations have urged Israel against storming Rafah for fears of a bloodbath.

Netanyahu said Israel’s aims were to release the hostages and to secure victory over Hamas.

“This victory requires entry into Rafah and the elimination of the terrorist battalions there. It will happen - there is a date,” He did not specify the date.

Israel pulls troops out of southern Gaza

Of the 253 people Hamas seized on October 7, 133 hostages remain captive. Negotiators have spoken of around 40 going free in the first stage of a prospective deal.

Hamas fighters killed 1,200 people in southern Israel in the October 7 attack, according to Israeli tallies.

Some 33,207 Palestinians have been killed in six months of conflict, Gaza’s health ministry said on Monday. Most of the enclave’s 2.3 million people are homeless and many at risk of famine.

Hamas has not released an official number of how many of its fighters have been killed.

Israel steps military pressure

On the battle front, an Israeli air strike on a municipality building of Al-Maghazi camp in central Gaza Strip killed the head of the municipality council, Hatem Al-Ghamri, and four other civilians, the Hamas-run government media office and medics said.

The Israeli military said in a statement it eliminated Ghamri, who it described as a military operative in Hamas Maghazi Battalion involved in rocket launches against Israel.

Hamas said Ghamri was a civil service official and described his killing as an “assassination”.

An Israeli airstrike on a house in Deir Al-Balah killed one Palestinian and wounded 20 others, Hamas said.

In Rafah, a missile fired from a drone killed one man and wounded several others, Hamas media said.

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