June 16, 2024

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The sources say that they were deceived by Egypt changing the terms of the ceasefire for Hamas

By CNN’s Alex Marquardt and Jeremy Diamond

Egyptian intelligence quietly changed the terms of a ceasefire proposal that Israel had already signed earlier this month, ultimately scuttling a deal that could have released Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners and set a path to temporarily end the fighting in Gaza, according to three people. . People are familiar with the discussions.

The ceasefire agreement reached by Hamas advertisement The sources said that May 6 was not what the Qataris or Americans believed was presented to Hamas for a possible final review.

The changes made by Egyptian intelligence, the details of which were not previously revealed, led to a wave of anger and mutual accusations between officials from the United States, Qatar and Israel, and left the ceasefire talks in a dead end.

“We were all deceived,” one of those sources told CNN.

CIA Director Bill Burns, who led American efforts to broker a ceasefire agreement, was in the region when he received news that the Egyptians had changed the terms of the agreement. The same person said he was angry and embarrassed, believing it made it seem like he didn’t know about it or didn’t inform the Israelis about the changes.

The source said that Burns, who was soft-spoken and mild-mannered, “almost blew a gasket.”

A CIA spokesman declined to comment.

The three sources familiar with the matter told CNN that a senior Egyptian intelligence official named Ahmed Abdel Khaleq was responsible for making the changes. Khaleq is the first deputy head of Egyptian intelligence, Abbas Kamel, who was Burns’ counterpart in leading the Egyptian mediation in the ceasefire talks.

A source familiar with the negotiations said that Abdel Khaleq told the Israelis one thing and another thing to Hamas. The source said that more Hamas demands were included in the original framework that Israel implicitly agreed to in order to obtain Hamas’ approval.

But other brokers were not informed. Neither do the Israelis.

“All parties were assuming that the Egyptians had presented the same document” that Israel had signed and that the other mediators, the United States and Qatar, were aware of, the source said.

The Egyptian government did not respond to a request for comment.

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