Senior Hamas official heads to Egypt for talks on Israel

Islamic Jihad said its leader would also attend the meetings

File - In this Friday, Oct. 21, 2011 file photo, Yehiyeh Sinwar, a founder of Hamas' military wing, talks during a rally in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, . Sinwar left for talks with Egyptian officials Thursday after a new outbreak of violence, as Hamas accuses Israel of slowing down the implementation of Egyptian-mediated understandings aimed at easing the situation in the Palestinian enclave and paving the way for a cease-fire. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa, File)

A Hamas delegation led by its Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar left the enclave for Cairo on Thursday for talks with Egyptian officials on a truce with Israel, the group's officials said.

Egypt has long been the broker between Israel and the group that runs Gaza.

In November it brokered a fragile truce agreement under which Israel eased its blockade of the Gaza Strip in exchange for calm.

That agreement has appeared to be under stress in recent days, with Israel carrying out air strikes early on Thursday.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that Mr Sinwar "left Gaza for Cairo at the invitation of the head of the Egyptian intelligence service, Maj Gen Abbas Kamal".

The visit was to discuss "bilateral relations and ways to lessen the suffering of our people", Mr Barhoum said.

A Hamas official said the truce agreement would be discussed.

Israel carried out air raids early on Thursday morning on a Hamas military compound in the northern Gaza Strip, the military said.It claimed they were in response to incendiary balloons being launched from Gaza into Israel.

Border clashes have been taking place for more than a year during weekly demonstrations.

At least 265 Palestinians have been killed since the protests began in March 2018, most in the border clashes. Two Israeli soldiers have been killed.

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