Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate chief Abbas Kamel continued his mediation tour between Israel and Hamas on Monday, visiting with Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar after his Sunday sit-downs with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
Kamel’s trip to Gaza is the first by an Egyptian intelligence chief in nearly 20 years and comes a week and a half after a Cairo-brokered cease-fire between Israel and Hamas ended 12 days of intense fighting in and around the tiny coastal enclave.
The fragile truce has so far been upheld, and Egypt and the United States hope the coming weeks will see further understandings reached between the two sides.
Following his meeting with Kamel, Sinwar touched on Israel’s demands for the release of its two civilians and the remains of two soldiers, held captive by Hamas for years, in return for allowing unessential supplies to enter the Gaza Strip.
“There is a real chance for progress to be made” on the issue of prisoners swap, he said, hinting that Hamas would request over 1,100 of its operatives imprisoned in Israel in return.