Cease-fire talks to resume in Cairo; U.N. observers injured in Lebanon

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Israel and Hamas are set to participate in a new round of cease-fire talks on Sunday in Cairo, Egyptian state-run TV channel Al Qahera reported, reviving hopes for a pause in the fighting in Gaza and the release of hostages after earlier efforts stalled.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations, an Israeli official confirmed that working-level talks will take place in the Egyptian capital this week. The Israeli army radio station Galatz reported that Israeli officials were scheduled to arrive in Cairo on Sunday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said last week he had approved a new round of talks. According to Galatz, Israeli intelligence agencies could join the delegation if there is progress.

Earlier this month, ambitions for a six-week cease-fire and hostage-release deal in time for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan faded after the sides couldn’t reach an agreement. Ramadan began in Gaza on March 11. That provisional deal included a six-week cease-fire and the release of the women, children, sick and elderly held captive by Hamas, including some Israeli soldiers. Thorny and slow-moving negotiations continued in Doha, Qatar, though they remained beset by starkly different visions of how the war would end.

Four members of a United Nations peacekeeping team were injured Saturday in a blast in southern Lebanon, near a contentious demarcation line shared with Israel, the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said in a statement.

“The targeting of peacekeepers is unacceptable,” UNIFIL said, adding that it was “investigating the origin of the explosion.” In a statement Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces said it “did not strike a UNIFIL vehicle in the area of Rmeish this morning.”

According to UNIFIL, an explosion happened Saturday when three military observers from the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization and an interpreter were conducting “a foot patrol along the Blue Line” near the Lebanese town of Rmeish. They were evacuated for medical care, UNIFIL said.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said the military observers were from Australia, Chile and Norway and said they had been “targeted by an Israeli drone.” Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar TV also said there was “preliminary information” that an Israeli drone was behind the attack, citing its correspondent. Neither provided any evidence for the claim, and The Washington Post could not immediately verify the reports.

Here’s what else to know

Israeli forces continued their operation in Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital Sunday, the IDF said, in what it described as a sweep for Hamas militants that started in mid-March. Israeli forces killed “a number” of militants outside the hospital and in the maternity ward and found weapons and “intelligence materials” at the complex, the IDF said Saturday. The Gaza Health Ministry said on Saturday that 107 patients and 60 medical workers are still inside the hospital and that Israeli forces have prevented their evacuations. The Post could not verify either side’s claims.

Netanyahu said that Israel should depend less on other nations for military supplies. “We need to be much more independent in the ability to manufacture the war materiel that we need,” Israel’s leader said in a Thursday meeting with Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron, in remarks released Sunday. Israel is a long-standing recipient of extensive military support from Washington, including more than 100 military sales since the war began in October.

A 400-ton shipment of aid left Cyprus for Gaza on Saturday, as hunger continues to be widespread among the enclave’s population of roughly 2.1 million. Loaded with rice, pasta, flour, canned vegetables, dates and other goods, the convoy of ships is expected to bring in enough food to prepare 1 million meals, according to the nonprofit World Central Kitchen. It’s the second aid shipment organized by the WCK.

Pope Francis renewed his appeals for a cease-fire, the release of hostages, and guarantees of aid into Gaza during his Easter Sunday address. Before a crowd of tens of thousands in St. Peter’s Square, the pope also drew attention to the plight of Lebanon, home to a large Christian population.

“Saturday Night Live” host Ramy Youssef pleaded for an end to the war’s violence in his monologue on the show. “Please free the people of Palestine … and please free the hostages,” the comedian said to cheers from the audience.

Protesters clashed with police in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Saturday night, with photos and videos showing crowds calling for Netanyahu to do more to secure the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas. Some also called for Netanyahu’s resignation and new elections. Israel’s national police said 16 were arrested in Tel Aviv after “several hundred protesters violated public order, lit bonfires, shook a police car, blocked roads and confronted the police.”

At least 32,782 people have been killed and 75,298 injured in Gaza since the war began, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. Israel estimates that about 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack and says 254 soldiers have been killed since the start of its military operation in Gaza.

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