Burns seeks to pressure Hamas and Israel to expand their negotiations (French)
According to press reports, citing informed sources, CIA Director William Burns arrived in Qatar on Tuesday to discuss the prospects of reaching an expanded deal between the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Israel.
The Washington Post reported that Burns was seeking to pressure Hamas and Israel to expand their negotiations on the prisoner swap to include the release of men and military personnel from women and children.
The Wall Street Journal also quoted a U.S. official and a source familiar with the matter as saying that the CIA director was discussing in Doha with Qatari and Israeli officials the continuation of the release of detainees and other aspects of the conflict in Gaza.
She added that Burns' arrival in Qatar on Tuesday indicated the difficulty of the talks, and that Mossad (Israel's foreign intelligence) director David Barnea was participating in the meeting.
Reuters also quoted a source as saying that the CIA director and the Mossad director were meeting Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani in Doha to "build on the progress" made in extending the truce between Israel and Hamas for 48 hours.
The source added that Egyptian officials are also participating in the Doha meeting, which also discusses the next phase of a possible agreement, according to the agency.
CNN reported that the director of Egyptian intelligence, Major General Abbas Kamel, is participating in these talks.
The Israeli army announced the injury of a number of its soldiers during the past hours (French-archive)
On the ground, sources told Al Jazeera that two Israeli soldiers were wounded by an explosive device explosion in the northern Gaza Strip, while the Israeli army acknowledged that 3 explosive devices were activated near its forces, wounding a number of soldiers.
Prior to the Israeli army's approval, the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, announced that "field friction" had occurred with the occupation forces in the northern Gaza Strip as a result of "a clear violation by the enemy of the truce agreement," adding that its fighters dealt with this violation, calling on mediators to oblige the occupation to all terms of the truce on the ground and in the air.
The Palestinian factions also said, in a joint statement, that they are following "the occupation's violations of the temporary truce, and we call on all parties to oblige the occupation to stop these violations."
Extension of the truce
Earlier in the day, Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majid al-Ansari said 150 Palestinians had been released from Israeli jails compared to 69 detainees in Gaza during the original four-day truce.
Al-Ansari explained that they have confirmed that 20 detainees in Gaza could be released during the two additional days of the truce, noting that Qatar is strengthening its role in brokering a long humanitarian truce and then a permanent ceasefire.
He pointed out that the priorities of mediation were women and children, then civilian men, and then the military.
Since Friday morning, the Gaza Strip has been witnessing a temporary humanitarian truce that lasted 4 days, and announced its extension for two additional days, including a prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel under the mediation of the State of Qatar in coordination with Egypt and the United States.
Since the Palestinian resistance launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on the seventh of last October, Israel has waged a devastating war on the Gaza Strip that has left tens of thousands of martyrs and wounded civilians, most of them children and women, in addition to an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe, according to official Palestinian and UN sources.
Source: Al Jazeera + Reuters + Washington Post + Wall Street Journal