Senior Hamas official heads to Egypt for talks on Israel

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A Hamas delegation led by its Gaza head Yahya Sinwar left the enclave for Cairo on Thursday for talks with Egyptian officials on a truce with Israel, Hamas officials said.

Egypt has long been the broker between Israel and the Islamist group that runs Gaza.

In November it brokered a fragile truce agreement whereby Israel eases its blockade of the Gaza Strip in exchange for calm.

That agreement has appeared to be under stress in recent days, with Israel carrying out airstrikes early Thursday in response to Palestinian firebombs across the Gaza border.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that Sinwar “left Gaza for Cairo at the invitation of the head of the Egyptian intelligence service, Major General Abbas Kamal.”

The visit was aimed at discussing “bilateral relations and ways to lessen the suffering of our people,” he said in a statement.

A Hamas official said the truce agreement would be discussed.

Islamic Jihad, a Hamas-allied group, said its head will also attend the meetings.

Israel carried out air raids early Thursday morning on “a number of terror targets in a Hamas military compound in the northern Gaza Strip,” a military statement said.

It said that they were in response to the launching of incendiary and explosive balloons from Gaza into Israel.

Border clashes have been taking place for over a year during weekly demonstrations.

At least 265 Palestinians have been killed since the protests began in March 2018, the majority in border clashes.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed.

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