Hamas-Israel hostage deal ‘close’ to approval

An agreement between the Palestinian movement and West Jerusalem to release prisoners will likely be announced on Tuesday

Several media outlets reported that a Qatari-brokered agreement to release a number of Israeli hostages held by Hamas may be announced on Tuesday, noting that a temporary ceasefire in Gaza is also expected.

Axios, citing two sources, claimed that the agreement would be in two stages. According to the outlet, under the first part of the deal, 50 Israeli women and children held hostage in Gaza will be released in exchange for about 150 Palestinian prisoners, most of whom are women and minors.

The exchanges will reportedly be carried out during a four-day ceasefire in Gaza, under which Israel allows around 300 humanitarian aid trucks daily to enter the Palestinian enclave from Egypt.

Axios said that the second phase would include Hamas releasing up to 50 more Israeli hostages, including women, children and the elderly, in exchange for Israel extending the ceasefire for several more days. In addition, Israel is expected to release imprisoned Palestinians at the same ratio of three to one as the number of hostages released, she added.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also confirmed that the Palestinian movement is “close to reaching a truce agreement” with Israel, Reuters reported, citing a statement sent by his aide to the agency.

Meanwhile, Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari said that Qatari mediation is continuing “Critical and final” According to the Times of Israel newspaper.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced on X (formerly Twitter) that the Cabinet will meet at 8 p.m. local time on Tuesday. “In light of developments related to our hostage release issue.”

On Monday, Netanyahu met with the families of those kidnapped by Hamas, and subsequently announced that Israel “We will not stop fighting until we bring our hostages home, destroy Hamas, and ensure there will be no longer a threat from Gaza.”

On October 7, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking 240 hostage, Israeli officials said. In response, West Jerusalem launched massive airstrikes and a major ground offensive in Gaza, killing at least 13,000 people, according to Palestinian officials.

Hamas announced that it is ready to exchange hostages with thousands of Palestinians currently detained in Israeli prisons.

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