“The hostage deal is in the final stages, the closer we are to a ceasefire,” Israel’s Haaretz reported, citing a source involved in the negotiations.
“We are in the final stage, we are getting close to announcing a ceasefire,” the same official added, clarifying that the details that have been published so far do not accurately reflect the individual agreements reached between the parties.
Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari confirmed the above by announcing that negotiations for the release of hostages taken in the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 are at the “closest point” to an agreement and have reached the “final stage” .
“We are the closest we have ever been to reaching an agreement,” he said, adding that negotiations had reached a “critical and final stage.”
Earlier, the leader of the terrorist organization Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, said: “We are close to reaching a ceasefire agreement,” in a Telegram post. Intense negotiations mediated by Qatar are underway. Qatar’s prime minister said on Sunday that a deal to free some of the prisoners in exchange for a temporary ceasefire hinged on “secondary” practical issues.
According to the French news agency AFP, sources close to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, the two factions have indeed accepted an agreement, the details of which have yet to be officially announced by Qatar and the mediators. The Israeli government has not yet reacted to these statements.
Israel-Hamas talks are accelerating
As reported by APE-MPE and AFP, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC), Miriana Spoliaric, met last Monday night with top Qatari officials and with Haniya, who is based in the emirate of the Gulf, to “make progress in humanitarian affairs related to the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza”.
Qatar, Egypt and the US are brokering a deal that would see the hostages released in return for a ceasefire of several days in the Gaza Strip.
Although the ICRC assures that it is not involved in the negotiations, it insists that “(its) teams be allowed to visit the hostages to ensure they are well and to distribute medicine” as well as “so that the hostages can communicate with their families”. , according to her statement.
“We’ve never come this close” and now “we’re confident” but “there’s work to be done” and “nothing’s done until it’s done,” said White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
Two sources familiar with the matter told AFP today that the talks involve the release of “50 to 100 hostages” in exchange for the release of 300 Palestinian prisoners in Israel, including children and women.
Their transfer will be carried out in phases, “ten” hostages will be exchanged for “thirty” prisoners daily, while it is also planned to allow the entry of food, medical and pharmaceutical aid and fuel, as well as – above all – to declare a “five-day renewable humanitarian ceasefire,” according to AFP sources.
However, the government of Israel insists on the simultaneous release of members of the same families, which means that if a civilian is released, his or her partner will leave with him or her, even if he or she belongs to the ranks of the army. Hamas, which does not want to release its prisoners, has so far rejected it, according to these two sources.
Relatives of the hostages met last night with Israel’s prime minister and members of the “war government” he has formed to press for stepped-up efforts to return some 240 people held by Hamas from the Gaza Strip to Israel.
“Bringing back our abductees is a sacred and supreme duty and I am committed to it,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said via Twitter after the meeting, without lifting the veil covering the negotiations, while assuring that he had discussed with ” open heart” with families.
“We will not stop fighting until we take the hostages back home, destroy Hamas and make sure there is no longer a threat from Gaza,” he added.
About 1,200 people, most of them civilians, were killed in the Hamas attack, according to authorities, also a number not seen since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948.