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DOHA: A Hamas official on Thursday accused Israel of carrying out incursions in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah to block talks seeking a truce in the seven-month war in the Palestinian territory.

Israel has defied international objections and sent tanks into Rafah, which is crowded with Palestinian civilians sheltering near the Egyptian border, seizing early Tuesday a crossing that is the main conduit for aid into the besieged territory.

Israel’s military operations in Rafah and its border crossing “aim to obstruct the efforts of the mediators”, Ezzat al-Rishq said in a statement.

Hamas, however, was still committed to “accepting the (ceasefire) proposal presented by the mediators”, he said.

US warns Israel that Rafah invasion will jeopardise weapons supply as assault continues

The official said a Hamas delegation sent to the talks in Cairo had departed and was travelling back to the Qatari capital Doha.

Egypt, Qatar and the United States have been trying to mediate an agreement between Israel and Hamas for months.

Talks involving Qatari, US and Hamas delegations aimed at cementing a long-stalled ceasefire deal were to continue Thursday in Cairo, said Al-Qahera News, which is linked to Egyptian intelligence.

It added, citing an informed source, that Islamic Jihad, which is fighting alongside Hamas, and the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, were also participating and “are open” to reaching a deal.

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