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A US official says a deal is on the table for a proposed ceasefire and hostage release with Hamas.

Israel essentially has a framework of a proposed ceasefire in Gaza and the hostage release treaty, and it is now up to Hamas to agree to them, a senior US administration official said on Saturday, a day before talks to reach a deal were due to resume in Egypt.

A US official told CBS News that “a deal is on the table” for a six-week ceasefire. Hamas releases hostages considered vulnerable, including the sick, injured, elderly and women.

“It is essential that we see a ceasefire in Gaza and that the path to a ceasefire, literally at this hour, is simple. … There is a framework agreement. The Israelis have more or less accepted it. And it will come. a six-week ceasefire in Gaza begins today. If Hamas agrees to release, the official said.

Officials from Israel and Hamas did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A senior Egyptian official said mediators Egypt and Qatar are expected to receive a response from Hamas during the talks in Cairo that start on Sunday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not publicly authorized to discuss the sensitive conversations.

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International mediators have been working for weeks to reach an agreement to pause fighting before the war Islamic holy month of Ramadan starts around March 10. A deal would also likely allow aid to reach hundreds of thousands of desperate Palestinians in northern Gaza, who aid officials worry are under pressure. threat of famine.

Israel and Hamas held one a week-long ceasefire end of November. The seven-day ceasefire led to the release of about 100 hostages – mostly women, children and foreign nationals – in exchange for about 240 Palestinians jailed by Israel, and a brief cessation of fighting.

The talks come amid mounting criticism of the desperation of hundreds of thousands of people struggling to survive in northern Gaza, which has borne the brunt of the conflict that began when the The Hamas militant group attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and capturing about 250 hostages.

Residents of northern Gaza say they are searching through rubble and trash for something to feed their children, who barely eat one meal a day. Many families have started mixing animal and bird food with grain to bake bread. International aid officials say they have faced catastrophic hunger. Hospital records in Gaza show that at least 10 children have died of starvation, the World Health Organization said.

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About one in six children under the age of two in the North suffer from acute malnutrition and wasting, “the worst level of child malnutrition anywhere in the world,” Carl Skau, deputy director of the World Food Program, said this week. “If nothing changes, there is a threat of famine in northern Gaza.”

People have overwhelmed trucks delivering food aid and grabbed what they can, Skau said, forcing WFP to suspend deliveries to the north.

“We are dying of hunger,” said Soad Abu Hussein, a widow and mother of five who is sheltering in a school in the Jabaliya refugee camp.

At least 115 Palestinians were killed and hundreds were injured on Thursday while they sought helpThe Ministry of Health in Hamas-ruled Gaza said this.

Witnesses and medics said Israeli forces opened fire. Israel says many of the dead were trampled in a chaotic rush for food aid, and that its forces fired warning shots after the crowd advanced on them in a threatening manner. The European Union’s diplomatic service said on Saturday that many of the dozens of Palestinians killed or injured in the chaos were hit by Israeli army fire and urged an international investigation.

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On Friday, President Biden announced that US forces would begin dropping food into Gaza. The first drop, carried out with the Jordanian army, took place on Saturday morning. The armies of Jordan and Egypt said they also carried out airdrops.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said the Palestinian death toll from the war rose to 30,320. The ministry does not distinguish between civilians and fighters in its figures, but says women and children make up about two-thirds of the deaths.

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