Hamas Says It Is Reviewing Israeli Proposal on Cease-Fire Deal

Hamas said on Saturday that it was reviewing a new Israeli proposal for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, a move that comes amid efforts to break a deadlock in the talks between the armed group and Israel.

The statement came as anticipation was growing of an Israeli invasion of Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where more than a million people have been displaced. Humanitarian groups have warned that such an offensive would have catastrophic consequences for civilians.

In a statement, Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, said the group had received an Israeli response to a proposal it delivered to Egyptian and Qatari mediators two weeks ago. Mr. al-Hayya did not provide any details included in the Israeli proposal, but he said Hamas would respond to it after the group finished studying it.

On Friday, a delegation of Egyptian officials visited Israel in an attempt to advance the negotiations between Israel and Hamas, according to an Israeli official familiar with the visit, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to communicate with the media.

In recent weeks, the negotiations aimed at achieving a cease-fire and the release of hostages held in Gaza have stalled amid disputes about an Israeli withdrawal of forces and the length of a halt in the fighting. Hamas has demanded a permanent cease-fire, whereas Israel has expressed openness to a temporary pause.

Another key sticking point is whether Israel will allow displaced Palestinians to return to the north. Hamas officials have said Palestinians should be able to go back en masse, while Israeli officials have said Israel wants to put limits on who can return, where and how.

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