Ceasefire talks open in Cairo as Rafah braces for Israeli assault


Cairo/Jerusalem: Officials of America, Egypt, Israel and Qatar were meeting cairo Will try to reach agreement on ceasefire on Tuesday Gaza As international calls grew for Israel to halt its planned attack on the Palestinian enclave's southern city of Rafah. More than one million displaced citizens are crammed into RefaMany fled Israeli bombardment of other areas of Gaza and lived in camps and temporary shelters during the more than four-month war.
Israel says it wants to clear out the positions of Hamas militants in Rafah and free Israeli hostages held there, and plans to evacuate trapped Palestinian civilians. But no plans have emerged and aid agencies say the displaced have nowhere else to go in the ravaged region.
Residents said Israeli tanks shelled the eastern sector of Rafah throughout the night, causing panic. Rafah is Egypt's neighbor but Cairo has made it clear it will not allow the flow of refugees across the border.
Gaza health authorities announced 133 new Palestinian deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total since October 7 to 28,473 killed and 68,146 injured. Many others are believed to be buried under the debris of destroyed buildings in the densely populated area, most of which are in ruins. Supplies of food, water and other essential commodities are depleting and diseases are spreading. About half of Gaza's 2.3 million people are now packed into Rafah, many of whom have fled other areas because of the fire.
In Cairo, efforts were underway to secure a cease-fire in the war whose effects have been felt throughout West Asia. Egypt's state-linked Al Qahera News said talks had begun on Tuesday with US, Qatari, Egyptian and Israeli officials. “Both sides are looking for a formula that is acceptable to Hamas,” said one Palestinian, who says signing an agreement is possible only if it commits to ending its war and withdrawing its forces from the Gaza Strip. be based on Israel's commitment to The officer said. The official said Hamas told participants it did not trust Israel not to restart the war if Israeli hostages were released. There was no immediate comment from Israel on the status of talks.

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