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Egyptian president, CIA director discuss hostage deal; Shin Bet chief in Cairo to address Egypt border issues

Several high-level meetings aim to advance hostage deal and truce talks

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi speaks with CIA Director William Burns in Cairo, July 9, 2024. (Photo: Egyptian Presidency)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and CIA Director William Burns met in Cairo on Tuesday to advance discussions about a hostage deal and truce between Israel and Hamas, according to el-Sisi’s office.

“The president affirmed the Egyptian position rejecting the continuation of military operations in the Gaza Strip,” the statement added.

Burns and Biden’s top Middle East advisor, Brett McGurk, met with Egyptian and Israeli officials in Cairo on Monday to talk about the many unsolved issues surrounding a deal, including future border arrangements between Israel and Egypt.

The hostage deal negotiations were restarted last Saturday, when Hamas announced its initial approval of the deal presented by U.S. President Joe Biden in May, dropping its demand that Israel commit to a permanent ceasefire as a precondition.

Ronen Bar, director of Shin Bet, Israel's domestic intelligence service, remained in Cairo to continue the discussion surrounding Israel’s role in the Philadelphi Corridor and the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, Arabic media reported.

Egypt protested the IDF taking over the corridor and the adjoining border crossing in May, which have been exploited by Hamas to smuggle weapons over the past years and has since insisted that Israel can’t stay in control of the area.

Earlier on Tuesday, Hebrew media cited a Lebanese report that stated Israel had offered to withdraw its forces but wanted to continue monitoring the area and retain the right to take action if there was evidence pointing to the resumption of weapons smuggling.

The day before, Egyptian reports suggested that if Israel was to withdraw as part of a truce deal, Egypt might be open to working with the United States to create a high-tech underground barrier to curb the smuggling.

The IDF said its troops have uncovered at least 25 tunnels that cross the border between Egypt and Gaza so far.

According to Egypt’s state-affiliated Al-Qahera news outlet, negotiations will continue tomorrow, with an Egyptian delegation traveling to Qatar “on a mission to bring viewpoints closer between Hamas and Israel in order to reach a truce agreement as soon as possible.”

The Axios news outlet reported that McGurk is expected to continue to Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Burns will fly to Doha, Qatar to attend a high-level meeting with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed al-Thani, Egypt’s intelligence director, Abbas Kamel and Israeli Mossad Director David Barnea.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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