Israel and Hamas indicate no deal is imminent after Biden signals Gaza cease-fire could be close

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel and Hamas on Tuesday played down chances of an imminent breakthrough in talks for a cease-fire in Gaza, after U.S. President Joe Biden said Israel has agreed to pause its offensive during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan if a deal is reached to release some hostages.

The president’s remarks came on the eve of the Michigan primary, where he faces pressure from the state’s large Arab American population over his staunch support for Israel’s offensive. Biden said he had been briefed on the status of talks by his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, but said his comments reflected his optimism for a deal, not that all the remaining hurdles had been overcome.

In the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, Israel’s air, sea and ground campaign in Gaza has killed tens of thousands of people, obliterated large swaths of the urban landscape and displaced 80% of the battered enclave’s population.

Israel’s seal on the territory, which allows in only a trickle of food and other aid, has sparked alarm that a famine could be ...

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