Mediators in Qatar — where Hamas operates a political office — are seeking to broker a deal between the terrorist group and Israel that would include the release of about 50 Israeli hostages by Hamas in exchange for a three-day ceasefire, he told Reuters an authority informed about the negotiations this Wednesday (15).
The deal, which was coordinated with the US, would also allow Israel to release some Palestinian women and children from its prisons and increase the amount of humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza.
It would be the largest release of hostages held by Hamas since the terrorist group stormed across the Gaza border, attacked parts of Israel and took hostages.
Still according to the employee, the Hamas agreed to the broad outlines of this agreement, but Israel did not and is still negotiating the details.
However, the agreement would require Hamas to hand over a complete list of the remaining live civilian hostages held in Gaza.
It is also unknown how many Palestinian women and children Israel would release from its prisons as part of the deal under discussion.
A more comprehensive release of all hostages is not currently on the table.
It is unclear whether Hamas is currently able to compile an accurate list of the hostages it is holding, as the war caused him communication and organizational problems in Gazasaid a Western diplomat in the region.
Bringing the hostages together for any simultaneous release, which Israel wants, would be logistically difficult without a ceasefire, said another source in the region with knowledge of the negotiations.
What Israel and Hamas say
There was no immediate response from Israeli authorities regarding the possible agreement reported by Reuters.
The Israeli government has previously refused to provide detailed commentary on the hostage negotiations, citing reluctance to undermine diplomacy or fuel reports it deemed “psychological warfare” by Palestinian militants.
When asked about the negotiations, Taher Al-Nono, media advisor to Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, did not directly confirm the agreement under discussion.
“Netanyahu is stalling and undermining any progress. He is exploiting the hostage issue to continue the aggression. Netanyahu is not serious about reaching an agreement,” Nono told Reuters.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.
Qatar has led mediation between the militant group and Israeli authorities for the release of more than 240 hostages. They were taken by Hamas militants when they invaded Israel on October 7.
Qatar, with ambitious foreign policy goals, has a direct line of communication with Hamas and Israel. The country has already helped mediate a truce between the two.