Israel group reportedly arrives in Egypt for talks on ceasefire, hostage release

Israeli media reported on Sunday that the country's delegation has arrived in Egypt for negotiations on the suspension of fighting in the Gaza Strip in return for the release of hostages captured by Hamas on October 7.

Reuters news agency quotes a Hamas official as saying the group will wait to hear from Egyptian mediators on the outcome of their talks with Israel first.

Hamas used previous negotiations to demand a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, and a deal to allow Palestinians who fled south to return north. But Israel kept refusing such a ceasefire.

US news website Axios reported on Sunday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had rejected requests by the director of the country's intelligence agency and other Israeli negotiators to give them more leeway so they can get a hostage deal with the Hamas captors.

The media outlet said several members of the Israeli war cabinet had also pushed Netanyahu to show more flexibility. It added that Netanyahu had accused them of being soft and not knowing how to negotiate with Hamas.

Against this backdrop, tens of thousands of people converged outside Israel's parliament on Sunday to call for Netanyahu to resign. They say he has failed to realize the release of the hostages still held captive in Gaza.

A protester whose friend is one of the remaining hostages said Netanyahu should go immediately as his government has never done what it should.

Another demonstrator said Netanyahu should step down as many children have been killed in Gaza with a full hostage release yet to come.