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As U.N. Warns of Famine in Gaza, Cease-Fire Remains Elusive

WorldMiddle EastAs U.N. Warns of Famine in Gaza, Cease-Fire Remains Elusive

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, which is helping to broker the indirect talks between Israel and Hamas, expressed hope for a breakthrough, saying that, “God willing, in the next few days, we will reach a cease-fire agreement” to bring “real relief” to the people of Gaza.

His comments echoed President Biden’s prediction earlier in the week that a deal to pause the war and free the remaining hostages in Gaza could come as soon as Monday.

In a briefing for the news media on Wednesday, Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, said he was reluctant to comment on Mr. Biden’s forecast.

“I really hope he’s right,” Mr. Gallant said.

He spoke as Israel faces mounting international pressure to stop its devastating military offensive and increasing domestic pressure to secure the release of the hostages seized by Hamas and its allies during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which killed at least 1,200 people, according to Israeli officials.

Without a breakthrough, the death toll from Israel’s military campaign in Gaza is nearing 30,000, according to the territory’s health officials, and civilians and aid groups have described food shortages so dire that people were turning to leaves and bird food and other types of animal feed for sustenance.

“Our lives have become very miserable,” said Aseel al-Louh, 23, a university student in Deir al Balah in central Gaza, who said she had lost 11 kilograms, or 24 pounds, since the war began. She said she was eating one meal a day, usually some bread, hummus or canned beans. World Food Program nutrition bars, she said, were selling on the black market for six times the prewar price of similar products.

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