Israel-Hamas war: Hamas accepts cease-fire proposal

Officials with the Hamas militant group on Monday announced that it has accepted a cease-fire proposal from Egypt and Qatar, although it was not immediately clear whether Israel would agree to the terms of the proposal.

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The group said in a statement that its supreme leader, Ismail Haniyeh, approved of the proposal in a phone call with Qatar’s prime minister and Egypt’s intelligence minister, The Associated Press reported. A Hamas official said Monday that the “ball (is) now in Israel’s court,” according to BBC News.

Israeli military operations to continue as work continues on cease-fire proposal

Update 3:30 p.m. EDT May 6: Israel will continue to carry out operations in Gaza as officials review a cease-fire proposal earlier agreed to by Hamas, a military spokesperson said, according to The Associated Press.

“We examine every answer and reply very seriously,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said, according to the news agency. “At the same time, we continue our operations in the Gaza Strip and will continue to do so.”

Israel’s War Cabinet “unanimously decided” to continue planned operations, according to NBC News. In a statement obtained by the news network, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that Hamas’ proposal “is far from Israel’s necessary requirements.”

However, the statement added that “Israel will send a delegation of working-class mediators to exhaust the possibility of reaching an agreement under conditions acceptable to Israel.”

Officials with the Israeli military said targeted strikes were being carried out Monday in eastern Rafah. Earlier, officials warned people in the area to evacuate.

Families say Hamas’ acceptance of cease-fire deal must pave way for return of hostages

Update 3:25 p.m. EDT May 6: Families of people who are being held hostage in Gaza said in a statement on Monday that Hamas’ announcement that it has accepted a cease-fire proposal from Egypt and Qatar “must pave the way for the return of the 132 hostages held captive by Hamas for the past 7 months,” according to CNN and NBC News.

In a statement, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said, “Now is the time for all that are involved, to fulfil their commitment and turn this opportunity into a deal for the return of all the hostages.”

Cease-fire talks at ‘critical stage,’ White House official says

Update 3:15 p.m. EDT May 6: National Security Counsel spokesman John Kirby declined to give specifics Monday afternoon about the Israeli response or U.S. reaction to news that Hamas had approved of a cease-fire proposal from Egypt and Qatar, noting the sensitivity of the moment.

“We are at a critical stage right now,” he said, adding, “I don’t know that it gets any more sensitive than right now.”

President Joe Biden spoke Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and highlighted his support for a cease-fire deal. Kirby emphasized that the two leaders spoke before Hamas announced that it had approved of a deal.

‘Reaching an agreement is the absolute best outcome,’ White House official says

Update 2:50 p.m. EDT May 6: U.S. officials declined to immediately comment on the cease-fire agreement approved of by Hamas on Monday, with National Security Counsel spokesman John Kirby telling reporters that he did not want “to get ahead of the process.”

“We want to get these hostages out. We want to get a cease-fire in place for six weeks. We want to increase humanitarian assistance,” he said at a White House news conference on Monday. “The last thing that I want to do is say anything at this podium that’s going to put that process at risk.”

He talked to reporters after President Joe Biden spoke for about a half-hour with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier on Monday. Kirby said the president reiterated his support for a cease-fire deal during the conversation.

“We still believe that reaching an agreement is the absolute best outcome not only for the hostages, but for the Palestinian people, and we’re not going to stop working toward that outcome,” Kirby said.

Israel examining cease-fire proposal after Hamas’ acceptance

Update 2:05 p.m. EDT May 6: An Israeli official told The Associated Press that authorities are reviewing the cease-fire proposal earlier approved by Hamas.

It was not immediately clear whether Israeli might sign on to the agreement. The official, who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity, said the plan was “not the framework Israel proposed.”

The official added that Israel was still formulating its formal response.

US reviewing Hamas’ response to cease-fire proposal

Update 2 p.m. EDT May 6: U.S. officials are reviewing Hamas’ response to a cease-fire proposal from Egypt and Qatar, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Monday afternoon.

“We are revieiwng that response now and discussing it with our partners in the region.

“We will be discussing this response with our partners over the coming hours,” Miller told reporters Monday at a news conference. “We continue to believe that a hostage deal is in the best interests of the Israeli people.”

He added that American officials are focused on trying to reach a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas.

“It remains our top priority to try to reach a cease-fire agreement that will lead to the release of hostages, that will allow a surge of humanitarian assistance — both into Gaza and allowed to move around inside Gaza,” he said.

Israel deems cease-fire proposal unacceptable: report

Update 1:45 p.m. EDT May 6: An Israeli official told Reuters that the country would not accept the terms of a cease-fire agreement that Hamas approved of on Monday.

The official, who was not identified and spoke with Reuters on the condition of anonymity, said the proposal accepted by Hamas was a “softened” version of one offered earlier by Egypt which had “far-reaching” conclusions that Israel could not accept.

“This would appear to be a ruse intended to make Israel look like the side refusing a deal,” the official said, according to Reuters.

Israeli authorities have not officially addressed the cease-fire proposal.

Original report: Israel did not immediately respond to reports of the acceptance and it was not clear whether officials would also agree to the proposal. Still, people cheered after hearing news of the accepted proposal, Al Jazeera and BBC News reported.

It was not immediately known what details were included in the agreement, according to Reuters. The most recent framework shared by officials called for the release of 20 to 33 hostages over several weeks and the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the cease-fire, CNN reported.

The announcement came as thousands of people evacuated Monday from Gaza’s southernmost city, Rafah, after the Israeli military warned people to leave ahead of planned military action, according to The Guardian. People were being told to head for an “expanded humanitarian zone” in southern Gaza, the newspaper reported.

Hamas launched an attack on Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people — mostly civilians, the AP reported. Israel responded by declaring war and has since killed more than 34,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

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