Hamas in a 'positive spirit' ahead of Cairo truce talks

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Hamas has said it is sending a delegation to Cairo on Saturday to discuss a deal for a truce and the release of hostages in Gaza, hours after US CIA Director William Burns arrived in the Egyptian capital, according to Egyptian sources.

Egypt, along with Qatar and the United States, has been leading efforts to mediate between Israel and Hamas to broker a deal for a ceasefire in the conflict that began on October 7.

Hamas and CIA officials will meet Egyptian mediators on Saturday, an Egyptian security source said, though it was unclear whether they would meet separately or together.

Hamas said its delegates were traveling to Cairo in a "positive spirit" after studying the latest proposal for a truce agreement.

"We are determined to secure an agreement in a way that fulfils Palestinians' demands," the group said in a statement.

A US official said the United States believed there had been some progress in talks but was still waiting to hear more.

The CIA declined to comment, reflecting its policy of not disclosing the director's travel.

Ceasefire talks have continued for months without a decisive breakthrough. Israel has said it is determined to eliminate Hamas, while Hamas says it wants a permanent ceasefire and a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Egypt made a renewed push to revive negotiations late last month. Cairo is alarmed by the prospect of an Israeli ground operation against Hamas in Rafah in southern Gaza, where more than 1 million people have taken shelter near the border with Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

Egyptian sources say both sides have made some concessions recently, leading to progress in the talks, though Israel has continued to say an operation in Rafah is imminent.

A major Israeli operation in Rafah could deal a huge blow to fragile humanitarian operations in Gaza and put many more lives at risk, according to UN officials.

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