Home » Israel-Hamas war latest: Northern Gaza now in ‘full-blown famine’

Israel-Hamas war latest: Northern Gaza now in ‘full-blown famine’

Hello and welcome to The Telegraph’s live blog of the war in the Middle East. Follow along as we bring you all of the latest updates as Hamas and CIA officials ready to meet Egyptian mediators in Cairo today as ceasefire talks resume.

First up this morning:

Hamas ‘only thing’ standing in way of ceasefire deal

Hamas is the only thing standing in the way of a ceasefire, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said overnight as a delegation of the Palestinian militants this morning were due to arrive in Cairo to resume talks.

Reports suggest that a deal could be agreed in the coming hours amid a flurry of diplomatic activity.

“We wait to see whether, in effect, they can take yes for an answer on the ceasefire and release of hostages,” Blinken said late Friday at the McCain Institute’s Sedona Forum in Arizona. “The reality in this moment is the only thing standing between the people of Gaza and a ceasefire is Hamas.”

“Taking the ceasefire should be a no-brainer,” he added, but said the “ultimate decision-makers” are members of the group in Gaza, with whom mediators have no direct contact.

Hamas and CIA officials will meet Egyptian mediators on Saturday, as foreign negotiators await a response from Hamas on the latest proposal to halt fighting for 40 days and exchange hostages for Palestinian prisoners.

Israel’s Channel 12 cited an unnamed Hamas source as saying that the group will shortly announce an acceptance of the first stage of the deal following US guarantees that Israel will withdraw from Gaza after 124 days, when all three phases of the agreement have been completed. The supposed US guarantee was reportedly passed along via Egyptian and Qatari mediators at an eleventh hour meeting last night, which was also reported by Saudi newspaper Al Sharq.

The negotiations are reported to have been stalled recently over Hamas’ demand that the Israeli army withdraw completely from Gaza at the end of what Israel wants to be only a temporary pause in fighting, so that it can battle the remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah.

The World Health Organisation warned last night that if Israel does launch an offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which has been widely feared by the US and other allies, it would be a “bloodbath”.