The head of Hamas indicated on Tuesday that a truce agreement with Israel was close, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped for good news on hostages soon, the most hopeful signals of a deal to halt hostilities and liberate detainees so far, news agency Reuters reported. Hamas leaders were “close to reaching a truce agreement” with Israel, and the party has given its answer to Qatari mediators, according to an adviser to Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh.
PM Netanyahu said: “We are making progress. I don’t think it’s worth saying too much, not at even this moment, but I hope there will be good news soon”, as per the statement issued by the Israeli prime minister’s office.
Netanyahu’s war cabinet will meet at 1600 GMT “in light of developments in the matter of the release of our hostages,” according to his office, followed by sessions of his larger security cabinet and the entire cabinet.
According to a source informed on the discussions, the long-awaited accord, which would result in the war’s first truce and the first mass release of prisoners captured by both sides, was in its “final stages” and “closer than it has ever been,” Reuters reported.
A US official agreed, saying it was the “closest we’ve been” to a hostage agreement.
According to the first source, the agreement calls for Hamas to release about 50 civilian hostages as well as female and minor-aged Palestinian inmates from Israeli custody, as well as a multi-day cease-fire.
According to a Hamas spokesperson, discussions were concentrated on how long the truce would remain, arrangements for delivering assistance into Gaza, and specifics of the hostage swap, Al Jazeera TV reported. According to the spokesperson, Issat el Reshiq, both sides will release women and children, and specifics would be published by Qatar, which is mediating the discussions.
Unidentified authorities told Israel’s Channel 12 and Channel 13 television stations that an agreement may be achieved “within hours.”
According to Israeli estimates, Hamas abducted roughly 240 captives during its Oct. 7 raid into Israel, which murdered 1,200 people.