Cairo, Feb 9 – Egypt is hopeful that a Gaza truce accord between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas can be reached in the next few days, foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki told AFP on Sunday.
“There are positive signs that in the next few days we will reach an understanding on a truce and and a partial reopening of crossing points (into Gaza),” Zaki said.
Egypt has been mediating indirect talks for a lasting truce since the end of Israel’s massive 22-day onslaught on the Gaza Strip, which killed at least 1,330 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.
The fighting ended when both Israel and the Gaza Strip’s Islamist rulers called separate ceasefires on January 18.
However, the fragile calm has been tested by Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel and retaliatory air strikes.
On Saturday, a spokesman for Hamas said it expected an agreement with Israel on the the reopening of border crossings into the Gaza Strip “within the next few days.”
Israeli and Palestinian officials have been shuttling to Cairo for talks with Egypt’s intelligence chief and Middle East mediator Omar Suleiman, hoping for a truce deal with just two days until Israel’s election.
A Hamas delegation from Gaza led by firebrand Mahmud Zahar was in Syria on Sunday for consultations on the truce negotiations with Damascus-based members of the group’s powerful politburo, Hamas official Mohammed Nasr told AFP.
Mohammad Nazzal, a senior Hamas official based in Damascus, told the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television station that there are still “obstacles” in the truce talks.