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Israeli Spy Chief in Paris for Gaza Peace Talks

Israeli Spy Chief in Paris for Gaza Peace Talks.

An Israeli delegation, led by the head of the country’s overseas intelligence agency, has arrived in Paris to facilitate discussions for a ceasefire in Gaza, according to an Israeli official.

Mossad director David Barnea is accompanied by his counterpart at the domestic Shin Bet security agency, Ronen Bar, as reported by Israeli media.

In late November, a week-long ceasefire resulted in the release of over 100 hostages held by Hamas and 240 Palestinian prisoners detained by Israel.

In late January, Barnea, along with his US and Egyptian counterparts and the prime minister of Qatar, convened in Paris to explore options for a new cessation of hostilities.

A proposed plan outlined a six-week pause in the conflict and the exchange of between 200 and 300 Palestinian prisoners for 35 to 40 hostages still held by Hamas, as confirmed by a Hamas source.

Subsequent talks in Egypt involved Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, who departed Cairo on Thursday evening, according to Hamas.

Discussions have centered on ending Israeli “aggression,” repatriating displaced individuals, and arranging a prisoner swap.

While Hamas seeks a complete ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed these demands as “bizarre,” insisting on pressing for “total victory” and the dismantling of Hamas.

Netanyahu opposes the release of Palestinian prisoners involved in Hamas attacks against Israel. During Haniyeh’s visit to Cairo, US Middle East envoy Brett McGurk was in Israel discussing an “extended pause” in the conflict to facilitate the return of all hostages, as stated by the White House.

Ahead of the Paris talks, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant suggested that Israel would continue efforts to negotiate the release of hostages, without providing further details.

The conflict originated when Hamas attacked southern Israel in October, resulting in over 1,160 fatalities, mostly civilians, according to official figures.

In response, Israel launched a military offensive, resulting in at least 29,514 deaths in the Gaza Strip, with the majority being women and children, as reported by the Gaza health ministry.

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