Growing expectations of Hamas cease fire

Hamas officials say they expect a deal is imminent


As Hamas infrastructure in Gaza takes a major battering, there are growing suggestions that the organisation is readying for a ceasefire, and a senior Hamas official has suggested a timescale of a day or two. 

"I think that the ongoing efforts regarding the ceasefire will succeed," Mousa Abu Marzook, high-ranking Hamas leader and former deputy chairman of its politburo, told Lebanese television last night.  

"I expect a ceasefire to be reached within a day or two, and the ceasefire will be on the basis of mutual agreement."

Israel struck a weapons storage facilities and other militant infrastructure located inside the homes of at least five Hamas leaders overnight. 

The targets included the residences of Ashraf Al-Jabari, who is in charge of training in Hamas’s military wing, and Osama Abu Anza, who is head of the surface to surface missile unit in the Khan Yunis Brigade.

As the IDF carries out what may be its final operations of the conflict, it is trying to make gains that will weaken Hamas long-term. One of last night’s targets was a weapons manufacturing facility. The air force continued its ongoing bombardment of Hamas’ underground tunnel network, which is key for distributing weapons after they leave factories.

In Israel there was a long stretch of quiet during the night, after an evening barrage which saw at least five rockets slam in to the city of Sderot, leaving one person injured, in moderate condition. There has been one rocket so far this morning. 

Pressure from Washington to Jerusalem for a ceasefire is growing. US President Biden called for de-escalation in a phone conversation yesterday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and last night Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the message to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. 

Mr Blinken “reinforced the message that the U.S. expects to see de-escalation on the path to a ceasefire,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said after the call. 

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that informed sources say a ceasefire could come as early as tomorrow, and said it has on the authority of an official that “ceasefire could come this week, barring any unforeseen clashes that might topple the fragile discussions.” 

In Israel, there is controversy over the prospect of a ceasefire without the return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers held by Hamas - Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul who were killed in the 2014 conflict — and of Avera Mengistu, an Israeli civilian who crossed to the coastal enclave and is believed to be alive. 

The workers’ union at the Israel Electric corporation has become vocal on this issue. Once a ceasefire is agreed, Hamas officials will expect restoration of several power lines taking electricity from Israel to Gaza, which were cut by militant rockets.

The union said in a statement that its workers will refuse to carry out the work, unless the Israelis are returned — “as a sign of solidarity and support for the struggle for the return of the boys." 


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