Israel’s Spy Chief Returns Home as Cease-Fire Talks Continue in Qatar

The head of Israel’s delegation has returned home from cease-fire talks in Qatar, an Israeli official said on Tuesday, but talks there are continuing amid another intensive diplomatic push to secure a pause in the fighting in Gaza as famine looms.

Warnings from the United Nations that a “famine is imminent” have added urgency to efforts to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, and get more humanitarian aid into Gaza. In addition to the discussions in Qatar, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will visit Saudi Arabia and Egypt this week to discuss postwar plans for Gaza and the wider Middle East.

Israeli negotiators arrived in Qatar’s capital, Doha, on Monday for a new round of in-person talks about a potential cease-fire and the release of hostages held by Hamas and other armed groups. Their delegation was led by David Barnea, the head of Mossad, Israel’s foreign spy agency.

Mr. Barnea returned to Israel on Tuesday morning, according to an Israeli official who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. Further details were not immediately available, but the Israeli news media reported that other members of Israel’s negotiating team remained in Qatar.

Officials from Qatar and Egypt have acted as intermediaries in the cease-fire discussions, in part because negotiators for Israel and Hamas do not talk directly with each other.

A spokesman for Qatar’s foreign ministry, Majed al-Ansari, confirmed that Mr. Barnea had departed but said on Tuesday that “technical teams” seeking to hash out finer details of a potential agreement were continuing to meet in Doha.

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