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Hamas still to give response on Gaza truce plan — Qatar

DOHA, Qatar — Hamas has not given its response on a tabled plan for a ceasefire with Israel in Gaza and an exchange of hostages and prisoners, Qatar's foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday.

"Mediators have not yet received a response from the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) regarding the latest proposal," Majed al-Ansari told Qatar's state news agency.

Hamas had "indicated that it is still studying the proposal", Ansari added, explaining mediation efforts were ongoing.

Qatar, with the United States and Egypt, has been engaged in months of negotiations over details for a ceasefire in Gaza.

But except for a seven-day pause beginning in November, which led to the release of more than 100 hostages, there has been no break in the fighting.

Seeking to restart talks, US President Joe Biden said last week Israel was offering a new three-stage roadmap.

Egypt on Thursday said it had received encouraging signals from Hamas over a potential deal with Israel, according to state-linked Al-Qahera News, citing a high-level source.

The comments came a day after meetings began between Hamas representatives, Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and Egypt's intelligence chief Abbas Kamel in Doha.

But Beirut-based senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan on Thursday cast doubt on the substance of the framework described by the US president.

"There is no proposal -- they are just words said by Biden in a speech," he said.

"So far, the Americans have not presented anything documented or written that commits them to what Biden said in his speech," he added.

Also on Thursday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held talks in Cairo with Biden's top Middle East adviser, Brett McGurk.