US, Israeli intelligence chiefs head to Doha for Gaza ceasefire talks

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US and Israeli intelligence chiefs will travel to Doha on Wednesday for discussions on a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, a source with knowledge of the talks told AFP on Monday.

CIA director William Burns and the head of Israel’s Mossad David Barnea “are travelling to Doha on Wednesday”, the source said adding they would meet with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

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Qatar has been engaged in months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, with support from Egypt and the United States, in efforts to reach a truce in Gaza and a hostage release deal.

Barnea had been in Doha on Friday amid a fresh push by negotiators to reach a deal. Egypt was also due to hold meetings this week.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks, said discussions in the Qatari capital had focused on “securing a transition from an initial truce to a more sustainable period of calm”.

For months, a prospective cessation of hostilities has centred around a phased deal hashed out by mediators beginning with an initial truce.

Recent discussions have focused on a framework outlined by US President Joe Biden in late May which he said had been proposed by Israel.

Hamas has signalled it would drop its insistence on a “complete” ceasefire, a demand Israel has repeatedly rejected.

Netanyahu’s office reiterated in a statement on Sunday that “any deal will allow Israel to return and fight until all the goals of the war are achieved”.

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