A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas could “come as early as (today) Friday”, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported, citing US and foreign officials involved in the discussions.
Egyptian officials have made headway in negotiations with Hamas’ leadership, the newspaper said, while the Israeli military has privately conceded that it is nearing the completion of its objectives.
An unnamed US official told the WSJ a mechanism was in place for a cease-fire and that the “only issue is timing”.
The official also noted that members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another Gaza-based armed group, remained a wild card.
Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas political official, has predicted a ceasefire within days in the Israeli-Gaza escalation.
“I think that the ongoing efforts regarding the ceasefire will succeed,” he told Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen TV. “I expect a ceasefire to be reached within a day or two, and the ceasefire will be on the basis of mutual agreement.”
An Egyptian security source told Reuters the sides had agreed in principle to a ceasefire after help from mediators but details were still being negotiated in secret.
Meanwhile, Israeli air attacks continued to target the Gaza Strip, destroying a house in al-Mashtal area northwest of Gaza City.
The Saftawi commercial thoroughfare north of the city has been targeted with a number of missiles. The entrance to the Nuseirat refugee camp was bombed, and a house in al-Bureij refugee camp was targeted.
Israel has also fired dozens of artillery shells towards homes and agricultural lands in the eastern and northern border areas of the Strip.
Palestinian groups in Gaza fired 80 rockets and mortar shells towards southern Israel between 7pm on Wednesday and 7am on Thursday, the Times of Israel reported, citing the Israeli military.
The Israeli air defence system intercepted a majority of the rockets and there were no reports of injuries, according to the website. -Aljazeera
Pix – Streaks of light are seen as Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercept rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon May 19, 2021