Israel-Hamas war: ‘Significant progress’ made in Paris hostage talks, Israeli media report

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Significant progress has been made in hostage talks in Paris, according to Israeli media.

United States, Israeli, Qatari and Egyptian officials have arrived in the French capital for negotiations including a possible ceasefire.

They are hoping to head off an Israeli assault on the Gaza city of Rafah where more than one million displaced people are sheltering.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh met Egyptian mediators in Cairo to discuss a truce this week on his first visit since December. But talks reached an impasse.

Gaza’s death toll reached 29,606 on Saturday as 92 more people were killed in a single day.

Figures from Gaza’s health ministry, say nearly 70,000 people have been wounded by the war on the enclave since Hamas gunmen’s murderous assault on Israel on October 7.

Northern Gaza is almost entirely cut off from the outside world and more than 7,000 people remaining missing.

Speaking on Friday, Hamas political official Osama Hamdan said the militant group has “dealt positively with the proposals and initiatives of the mediators” but that Israel’s position “poses many obstacles to reaching an agreement”.

He said the Israelis had refused the main demands put forward by Hamas to “stop the aggression, to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, to return displaced people to the north (of Gaza), and to make a real reciprocal deal” on exchanging the Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

Hamdan said his group is sticking to these demands.

But Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the militant group’s demands “delusional”.