Israel to send delegation to Egypt while keeping up operations in Rafah

Israel says it will send a delegation to Egypt to seek a ceasefire deal, but that operations will continue in Rafah in southern Gaza to exert military pressure on Hamas.

Hamas released a statement on Monday saying it has informed Qatari and Egyptian mediators that the group has accepted their proposal for a ceasefire.

The Israel Prime Minister's Office said that it will dispatch a delegation to Egypt "in an effort to maximize the possibility of reaching an agreement on terms acceptable to Israel."

But It also said the war cabinet has decided unanimously to continue operations in Rafah in order to apply military pressure on Hamas and advance the release of hostages held by the group.

Qatar-based satellite news network Al Jazeera says the ceasefire proposal accepted by Hamas consists of three phases, each of which would last 42 days.

In the first stage, Hamas would release 33 hostages, including women and children, in exchange for prisoners held by Israel.

The second stage calls for a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and for Hamas to release all remaining Israeli men, including soldiers, held captive.

The third phase includes a reconstruction plan for Gaza, with the involvement of the United Nations and mediating countries.

Tuesday marks seven months since the Hamas's deadly raid on Israel and the start of an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.