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Israel’s Netanyahu, Hamas chief signal ‘progress’ on Gaza ceasefire and hostages

The head of Hamas indicated on Tuesday that a cease-fire deal with Israel was close, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expected good news on the hostages soon, following an agreement to cease hostilities and free detainees. The most optimistic sign yet, reported news agency Reuters. According to an adviser to Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas leaders were “close to reaching a ceasefire agreement” with Israel and the party has given its response to Qatari mediators.

According to a statement released by the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “We are making progress. I don’t think it’s worth saying too much, not even at this time, but I hope there will be good news soon”. .

According to his office, Netanyahu’s war cabinet will meet at 1600 GMT “in view of developments in the case of the release of our hostages”, followed by sessions of his larger security cabinet and the entire cabinet.

According to a source with knowledge of the discussions, the long-awaited agreement, which would result in the first ceasefire of the war and the first mass release of prisoners held by both sides, was in its “final stages” and “already “Much closer”. ,” Reuters reported.

A US official agreed, saying it was the “closest” to a hostage agreement.

According to the first source, the agreement calls for Hamas to release approximately 50 civilian hostages, as well as female and underage Palestinian prisoners from Israeli custody, as well as a several-day ceasefire.

According to a Hamas spokesperson, the discussions focused on how long the ceasefire would last, arrangements for aid delivery to Gaza and the specifics of a hostage exchange, Al Jazeera TV reported. Both sides will release women and children, and specific details will be published by Qatar, which is mediating the discussions, according to spokeswoman Issat Al Reshiq.

Unnamed officials told Israel’s Channel 12 and Channel 13 television stations that an agreement could be reached “within a few hours.”

According to Israeli estimates, Hamas abducted about 240 detainees during its attack on Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people.



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