New attempt at Gaza war hostage talks

After weeks of stalemate in the Gaza war, there are growing signs of possible progress in negotiations for a ceasefire and the release of hostages. US National Security Council communications director John Kirby said in Washington yesterday (local time) that talks between international mediators have been “constructive”.

According to media reports, mediators are meeting in Paris today for a new round of talks. Israel wants to send a delegation in light of reports that Islamist Hamas has weakened its position, the Times of Israel reported.

Military: Offensive at Jenin repelled

The talks in Paris come at a critical time in the nearly five-month-old Gaza war: Israel is currently preparing a military offensive on the southern coastal city of Rafah, which borders Egypt. According to its own statements, it was to destroy the remaining Hamas battalions and free the suspected hostages there.

Meanwhile, Israel's military said it foiled a terrorist attack in Jenin, West Bank. A drone strike in Jenin killed a member of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group, the military announced early Friday.

Netanyahu presents new plan for Gaza

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented his plan for managing the Gaza Strip after the war to the Defense Cabinet, The Times of Israel reported. As Netanyahu has repeatedly emphasized, this provides full security control over the entire coastal area by the Israeli military, the newspaper said.

Regarding the future administration of the Gaza Strip, the policy paper states in vague terms that it will be led by “local authorities” with professional experience. They will be unaffiliated with “countries or organizations that support terrorism”.

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The Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs the West Bank, was not specifically named in the plan, the report said. However, this does not exclude their participation in the future administration of the Gaza Strip.

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