Israel and Hamas close to hostage deal – WaPo — RT World News

The Palestinian movement had previously indicated its willingness to release up to 70 Israeli children and women in exchange for a five-day ceasefire.

Israel and Hamas are moving toward a hostage agreement that could lead to the release of most Israeli women and children captured by the Palestinian militant group since the Oct. 7 attack, The Washington Post reported Monday, citing a senior Israeli official.

“The broad outlines of the deal have been understood.” The newspaper’s source said, adding that the agreement could be announced within several days once the details are finalized.

According to the report, the agreement could include the release of Israeli prisoners in groups in exchange for the simultaneous release of Palestinian women and youth detained in West Jerusalem.

Abu Ubaida, spokesman for the Hamas-affiliated Al-Qassam Brigades, said in a statement on Monday that the movement is prepared to release up to 70 Israeli children and women in exchange for a five-day truce.

Meanwhile, an unnamed Arab official told the newspaper that Israel is holding at least 120 Palestinian women and youth in prisons. However, according to Abida, Hamas is seeking the release of up to 200 Palestinian children and 75 women.

Any potential agreement could lead not only to a prisoner exchange and a temporary truce, but could also allow for more international aid to be provided to Gaza, which is under intense pressure. “Total siege” A source told the newspaper several weeks ago. However, Israel is said to want to verify the exact identities of those to be released, as this point is said to still be subject to negotiations.

According to an Israeli official interviewed by the newspaper, another factor in the hostage talks is that instead “the vast majority” Among the hostages are held by Hamas, others are held by other groups. However, he reportedly indicated that Hamas “He has the negotiating power for almost all of them.”

After Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel last month, it took more than 240 hostages, including not only members of the army, but also civilians and foreign nationals. So far, the Palestinian group has freed four people — a mother and daughter from Chicago and two elderly Israeli women. Qatar, which hosts Hamas’s political office in Doha, played an active role in securing this release, with numerous media reports indicating that the emirate continues to play a major mediating role in the conflict.

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