Israel and Hamas are said to be close to a deal on the release of a group of hostages, Israeli media and Hamas report. US President Joe Biden also says he expects an agreement soon.
Israeli media are talking about seventy people in the Gaza Strip who have been taken hostage by Hamas. In exchange for their release, Israel would have to release several hundred Palestinian prisoners. That deal should be completed sometime in the coming days.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also issued a statement to news agencies late Tuesday morning Reuters and AFP know that his movement is “close to an agreement” with Israel.
According to sources within Hamas, the exchange should take place during a ceasefire of “a number of days”. They report this to a news organization Al Jazeera and AFP. Haniyeh also mentioned a ceasefire in his statement, but did not reveal any details.
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According to sources within Hamas, Qatar will announce the details once the deal is completed. That country is mediating in the conflict. The Israeli government has not reported anything further.
The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross traveled to Qatar on Monday to meet with Haniyeh, who has lived there for years. They talked about humanitarian aid. According to the Red Cross, there were also consultations with the Qatari authorities.
US President Joe Biden was asked on Monday whether he expects an agreement on the release of hostages soon. “I think so, yes,” he said. But Biden emphasized that he cannot say anything further about it.