Biden hopes Gaza ceasefire will be in place by next week

US has been working with Egypt and Qatar to broker deal that would lead Hamas to release all hostages in exchange for extended pause in fighting

US President Joe Biden said he hopes the ceasefire will be in place by March 4, about a week before the start of Ramadan. AP
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US President Joe Biden said on Monday that he hopes there will be a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war in place by "the end of the weekend".

“My National Security Adviser [Jake Sullivan] tells me that we're close … we're not done yet,” he said during a visit to New York.

The US has been working with Egypt and Qatar to broker an agreement that would lead to Hamas releasing the remaining hostages in exchange for an extended pause in fighting.

An earlier proposal by the three sides was rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after Hamas made a counter-offer that he called “delusional”.

The US earlier vetoed a UN Security Council resolution, tabled by Algeria, that called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Washington gave continuing negotiations with Cairo and Doha over a deal to enact a pause in the fighting as its reason.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Netanyahu’s office said that the Israeli army had presented to the war cabinet its operational plan for a ground offensive into Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost town.

About 1.4 million Palestinians have sought safety in the city, which is on the border with Egypt.

The war in Gaza began after Hamas militants killed about 1,200 people and kidnapped 240 in southern Israel on October 7, according to Israeli figures.

More than 29,700 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began, according to health authorities in the enclave.

Latest from the Israel-Gaza war – in pictures

Updated: February 27, 2024, 4:45 AM