Hamas: Leader studying ceasefire proposal in 'positive spirit'

The Islamic group Hamas says its leader is examining a proposal for a Gaza ceasefire in a "positive spirit."

In a statement issued on social media on Thursday, Hamas said Ismail Haniyeh had talked by phone with Egypt's intelligence chief.

Egypt is brokering an agreement between Israel and Hamas on a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the release of the remaining hostages held in the enclave.

The statement says Haniyeh assured Egypt that a Hamas delegation would visit Egypt as soon as possible "to complete the ongoing negotiations."

Media outlets based in the Middle East quoted an Egyptian source as saying a Hamas delegation would arrive in Cairo within two days.

However, the fate of the negotiations is still unclear. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears ready to go ahead with a planned ground assault on Rafah.

Gaza's southern city is now home to about 1.2 million people, including many evacuees from other parts of the enclave.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military continued to pound Gaza on Thursday. Local media say dozens of people were killed or wounded.

Health authorities in Gaza say Israeli attacks have claimed the lives of 34,596 people since the fighting erupted on October 7.