Media: Egyptian delegation to visit Israel to broker ceasefire, hostage release

Middle Eastern media are reporting that an Egyptian delegation is to visit Israel to discuss the resumption of talks for a ceasefire and the release of the hostages still held by Islamic group Hamas.

The media say the delegation includes Egypt's intelligence chief and is scheduled to arrive in Israel as early as on Friday.

Egypt, together with Qatar, has brokered talks between Israel and Hamas. But negotiations were deadlocked as the two sides failed to find common ground.

The news broke as the Israeli military is showing readiness to launch a ground offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. About 1.2 million people, including evacuees, are currently in the city.

But calls are growing in Israel for the government to focus on freeing the hostages.

The United States and other countries are urging Israel to refrain from launching a ground operation in Rafah.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces continued airstrikes on Gaza on Friday.

Health authorities in the enclave say the death toll has reached 34,305 since the conflict began.