Egypt gets 'positive signs' from Hamas on Gaza truce: report

Israeli soldiers confronting protestors at the West Bank. [File, Standard]

Egypt has received encouraging signals from Hamas over a potential Gaza truce and hostage-prisoner swap with Israel, state-linked Al-Qahera News said on Thursday, citing a high-level source.

Cairo has been engaged along with fellow mediators Doha and Washington in months of negotiations for a ceasefire aimed at ending the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

"Hamas leaders have informed us that they are studying the truce proposal seriously and positively," Al-Qahera quoted the source as saying.

The source, who was not named, said the Palestinian militant group was expected to respond to the proposal in the coming days.

Egypt, which invited Hamas leaders to negotiations in Cairo, had "received positive signs from the Palestinian movement signalling its aspiration for a ceasefire", the source added.

The comments came a day after Hamas representatives met in Doha with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and Egypt's intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.

Apart from a seven-day ceasefire in November, during which more than 100 hostages were released in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, mediation efforts have failed to stop the conflict.

Last week US President Joe Biden unveiled a "roadmap to an enduring ceasefire" that would see Israel withdraw from Gaza's population centres and Hamas release hostages.

On Thursday, Biden and 16 other world leaders urged Hamas to accept the proposal.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held talks later in Cairo with Biden's top Middle East adviser, Brett McGurk.

The two stressed "the importance for Israel and Hamas to conclude the agreement as quickly as possible, and to take serious and concrete measures to guarantee a ceasefire throughout the Gaza Strip", the Egyptian foreign ministry said.

The Gaza war was sparked by Hamas's October 7 attack, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 251 hostages, 120 of whom remain in Gaza, including 41 the army says are dead.

Israel's military offensive on Gaza has since killed at least 36,654 people, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.