Spokesman: Hamas delegation to return Cairo for more consultations over truce with Israel

By Xinhua,

GAZA : Hamas said Thursday that its delegation, which is leaving Egypt to return Gaza later in the day after talks with Egyptian officials over a possible truce with Israel, would be back to Cairo on Saturday for more consultations.

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Hamas spokesman in Gaza Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement that “a deal on a truce was not reached because the Israeli offer we received through the Egyptian mediator links between the case of (captured Israeli soldier) Gilad Shalit and ending the blockade and reopening Gaza crossings.”

The Israeli side is offering a partial opening of Gaza crossings “which is totally rejected. There are also some details related to ruling the crossings and other technical issues that need more clarifications,” Barhoum explained.

He also noted that his movement has not received guarantees on reinforcing what would be agreed upon, “therefore we presented to the Egyptian mediator some clarifications,” which would be conveyed by Egypt to the Israeli side soon and then the talks between Egypt and Hamas would be resumed on Saturday.

“Egypt would need enough time in order to prepare the Israeli answers to Hamas questions, then Hamas would take the Israeli answers for consultations with its leadership inside and outside the Palestinian territories,” said Barhoum.

Meanwhile, Palestinian sources closed to Hamas said on Thursday that the Islamic movement would give its final answer to a possible Egypt-mediated truce with Israel on Saturday.

Hamas delegation, which included three leaders from Gaza and two from Damascus held intensive talks with senior Egyptian security officials over the past four days to finalize a loner term truce between the movement and Israel.

Earlier reports have said that Hamas and other Palestinian factions were supposed to declare a one-year truce with Israel on Thursday.

According to the sources, the Hamas delegation went back to Gaza and Damascus for more consultations.

The talks between Egyptian intelligence officials and Hamas delegation ended on Wednesday without a deal. Hamas said Israeli proposals for an agreement, carried through Egypt, were vague.