The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has ruled out reports of a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip that has been under heavy Israeli bombardment for ten consecutive days.
Hamas media office made the statement on Monday after Reuters reported that the US, Israel and Egypt have agreed to a truce in southern Gaza to begin at 9 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) to coincide with the reopening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
Citing two Egyptian security sources, the report said that the ceasefire would last for several hours.
The US, Israel and Egypt had agreed that the Rafah crossing would be open until 5 p.m. local time (1400 GMT) “as a one-day initial re-opening,” it added.
However, Israel denied the reported ceasefire, with a statement from prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office saying, “There is currently no truce and humanitarian aid in Gaza in exchange for getting foreigners out.”
Speaking after a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the Rafah border crossing is set to reopen to allow humanitarian aid in.
“Rafah will be reopened. We’re putting in place with the United Nations, with Egypt, with Israel, with others, a mechanism by which to get the assistance in and to get it to people who need it,” Blinken said.
Meanwhile, the US embassy in Israel said that Gaza residents may receive “very little notice” if the Rafah crossing opens.
“It is unclear whether, or for how long, travelers will be permitted to transit the crossing,” it said in a security alert. “There may be very little notice if the crossing opens and it may only open for a limited time.”
Rafah, on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt, is the only exit from the besieged coastal enclave as the two other Israeli-controlled crossings are closed.
The Rafah crossing has been closed for much of the past week.
Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group waged a surprise attack, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, against the occupying entity.
Hamas said that its operation came in response to Israel’s violations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East al-Quds and growing Israeli settler violence.
At least 2,750 Palestinians have been killed and 9,700 wounded in Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, the Gaza Health Ministry said on Monday.