Israel ready to release over 700 Palestinians – media — RT World News

Reports say that the prisoners could be exchanged for 40 Israeli hostages held by Hamas

Israeli media reported on Sunday, citing officials familiar with the matter, that Israel had agreed to release between 700 and 800 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of 40 hostages still held by Hamas. If successful, the exchange would be part of a potential US-brokered ceasefire agreement aimed at suspending the fighting between Israel and Hamas, which has entered its fifth month.

According to Channel 12 and the Walla news website, the group of prisoners that Israel wants to release includes 100 prisoners convicted of murder. An unnamed Israeli official, who spoke to The Times of Israel, was more cautious, saying “Right now, we feel 50/50 about the chances of reaching an agreement.”

Israel is also reportedly ready to discuss allowing Palestinian refugees to return to the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier rejected a proposal put forward by Hamas regarding a truce and prisoner exchange, insisting that the Israeli army remains determined to completely eliminate the armed group's presence in Gaza.

An Israeli delegation reportedly met with CIA Director William Burns in Qatar on Saturday as the United States tries to persuade the Israeli military to halt its attack on Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza that is crowded with refugees. An unnamed Israeli official told Reuters after the meeting that she was still there 'Big gaps' In the negotiations, especially with regard to the proposed proportion of Israelis and Palestinians participating in the potential exchange.

Hamas has not yet responded to the proposal, which may take a few days, according to Israeli media.

Israel declared war on Hamas on October 7, after the militants attacked Israeli cities, killing about 1,100 people and taking more than 250 hostage. Dozens of prisoners were later released as part of a series of exchanges during a week-long truce in November. About 130 hostages are still being held in Gaza, according to Israeli officials.

More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed during the Israeli operation in Gaza since October 7, according to local authorities run by Hamas.

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