Hamas gave its official response to the latest truce proposal for Gaza on Tuesday, calling for a “complete halt” to Israeli “aggression” as fighting raged in the Palestinian territory.

The response came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on his eighth Middle East tour since the October 7 Hamas attack that sparked the war, pushed the group to accept the deal.

“The response prioritizes the interests of our Palestinian people and emphasizes the necessity of a complete halt to the ongoing aggression on Gaza,” Hamas said in a joint statement with Islamic Jihad.

A source with knowledge of the talks said Hamas proposed amendments to the plan, including a ceasefire timeline and the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

“The response contained amendments to the Israeli proposal, including a timeline for a permanent ceasefire and the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip,” the source said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of negotiations, adding discussions would continue through Qatari and Egyptian mediators with US coordination.

Talks have been occuring via Qatari and Egyptian mediators, coordinated with the United States.

The UN Security Council on Monday approved a US-drafted resolution for a Gaza ceasefire plan, first outlined by US President Joe Biden last month, for a six-week truce and hostage exchange he said was offered by Israel.

Qatar and Egypt announced late on Tuesday they had received a response from the Palestinian groups to the framework and confirmed their “joint mediation efforts with the United States of America will continue until an agreement is reached”.

Washington has also pushed for a “day-after” plan for Gaza, promoted a governance role for Hamas’s rival, the Palestinian Authority, and urged steps toward a two-state solution.

With AFP