BEIRUT (NEWSnet/AP) — Hamas said Thursday it is sending a delegation to Egypt for further cease-fire talks. 

Egypt and U.S. mediators have reported signs of compromise in recent days. But chances for the deal remain entangled with a key question of  whether Israel will accept an end to the war without reaching its stated goal of destroying Hamas.

The proposal mediators have presented  to Hamas, apparently with Israel’s acceptance, sets a three-stage process to bring an immediate six-week cease-fire and partial release of Israeli hostages, but also negotiation for a “permanent calm” that includes some sort of withdrawal from Gaza, according to an Egypt official. Hamas is seeking guarantee of a full Israel withdrawal and complete end to the war.

Hamas officials had sent mixed signals about the proposal. But on Thursday, its supreme leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said he had spoken to Egypt’s intelligence chief and “stressed the positive spirit of the movement in studying the cease-fire proposal.”

If Israel does agree to end the war in return for a full hostage release, it would be a major turnaround. Its leaders have vowed not to stop bombardment and ground offensives until the militant group is destroyed. 

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