The leader of Hamas said on Tuesday that the Palestinian terrorist group was nearing an agreement with Israel that could see the release of hostages in exchange for a temporary ceasefire.
The development comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that a deal had not been reached between the two parties. The Israeli leader turned down a ceasefire proposal earlier this month, shortly after the Jewish state declared war.
Now, Hamas officials claim to be close to a “truce agreement” and that the proposal has reportedly been passed to Qatari mediators. Reuters noted that a source shared that the potential agreement was in its “final stages.”
While all the details of the potential truce agreement are unknown, it appears that Israel would receive 50 hostages in exchange for a temporary ceasefire. However, the specific duration of the ceasefire has not been agreed upon.
The release of 50 hostages would not come anywhere close to the total number of people abducted by Hamas on October 7, which is estimated to be around 240.
If the deal comes to fruition, it would be the largest diplomatic breakthrough since Hamas’ attack on the Jewish state. In addition to a temporary ceasefire, Israel is expected to release 150 Palestinian prisoners in the deal, many of whom are women and children, according to Axios.
The first phase of the release of hostages and prisoners is expected to take place over the course of a four-day ceasefire, but it is unknown whether the ceasefire will extend beyond that. Israel is also expected to allow 300 aid trucks per day into Gaza to allow for humanitarian aid for noncombatants.
It has been speculated that Hamas could release an additional 50 Israeli hostages if the ceasefire is extended and that Israel would release 150 more Palestinian prisoners that it currently holds.
President Joe Biden pressed the emir of Qatar to urge Hamas to accept the deal. He also called Netanyahu last week, urging him to do the same.
A U.S. official reportedly said that the negotiations were closer than they were over the weekend.
There has been no long-term plan to secure the release of all the Israeli hostages currently being held by Hamas.
Editor’s note: The title of this article has been revised for clarity. The original headline read: Israel ‘close’ to truce agreement with Hamas, 50 hostages to be freed.
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