Hamas accepts ceasefire proposal, awaiting word from Israel

The Hamas militant group said Monday it has accepted an Egyptian-Qatari ceasefire proposal to halt the seven-month war with Israel.

The terms that were agreed upon by Hamas were yet to be released. There was no immediate comment Monday from Israel, and an anonymous Israeli official told The Associated Press the plan approved by Hamas was "not the framework Israel proposed." 

The militant group issued a statement Monday saying its supreme leader, Ismail Haniyeh, had delivered the news in a phone call with Qatar’s prime minister and Egypt’s intelligence minister.

The two Middle Eastern nations have been mediating months of talks between Israel and Hamas.

Talks stalled for weeks because Hamas was refusing any deal that wouldn’t lead to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, a demand that Israel was rejecting.

Negotiations resumed over the weekend, with Egypt intensifying efforts to reach a deal to stave off a planned Israeli ground offensive into Gaza’s southern city of Rafah. Earlier on Monday, Israel ordered about 100,000 Palestinians to begin evacuating the city, signaling that a long-promised ground invasion there could be imminent.

Israel says Rafah is Hamas’ last stronghold.

According to FOX News, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has begun conducting what it describes as "targeted strikes" against Hamas operatives in eastern Rafah. Per the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the War Cabinet has unanimously decided that Israel would continue exerting "military pressure" on Hamas in Rafah to promote the release of hostages and the other goals of the war." 

A temporary ceasefire was also implemented in late November 2023 as both sides released hostages and prisoners. 

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Gaza ceasefire

Advocacy groups around the world have been calling for a ceasefire and an end to what they say is a genocide of the Palestinian people. 

Gaza's Health Ministry said the Palestinian death toll from the war has surpassed 34,000 and hundreds of thousands more are struggling to survive the grip of Israel’s retaliation after the Hamas militant group attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7 and took several hostages.

A top U.N. official says there is now a full-blown famine in northern Gaza.

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As the American presidential primary voting season ramps up, President Joe Biden is facing apathy and discontent from some Democratic voters over his support of Israel. 

Protests and counterprotests over military support for Israel’s war against Hamas are roiling U.S. college campuses.

Last week, Congress passed $26 billion in aid that will be sent to Israel. Some of the funds will be used to provide officials there with humanitarian relief for Gaza, and some will be dedicated to replenishing Israel’s missile defense systems and for U.S. military operations in the regions. 

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.