Israel defence minister: important to seize chance for Gaza deal

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel and the United States agree on the importance of seizing the opportunity for a Gaza ceasefire deal but challenges remain, Israel’s Defence Ministry said on Wednesday after its minister, Yoav Gallant, met U.S. Middle East envoy Brett McGurk.

“The two discussed the importance of seizing the opportunity created to achieve an agreement for the return of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza,” the ministry said in a statement about the meeting, which it said took place on Tuesday evening.

“They discussed the challenges that remain in achieving such an agreement, as well as possible solutions to address them,” it said.

Gallant also said Israel supports the opening of the Rafah crossing, between Egypt and Gaza, but will not tolerate the return of Hamas to the area, the ministry statement said.

(Reporting by Steve Scheer; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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