The Palestinian militant group Hamas is reportedly close to reaching a truce deal with Israel, according to the head of the group who spoke to Reuters on Tuesday. This comes as rockets continue to be fired at Israel and the deadly attack on Gaza continues. Qatari mediators have been involved in the talks, as stated by Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas.
However, the statement did not provide further details about the truce deal or its terms. A Hamas official spoke to Al Jazeera TV and revealed that the talks focused on how long the truce would last and agreements for aid deliveries to Gaza and an exchange of Israeli hostages held by Hamas for Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Women and children will be released under this agreement, with details set to be released later by Qatar, which is mediating the talks.
Mirjana Špoljarić Egger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), met with Haniyeh in Qatar on Monday to address humanitarian issues related to the conflict. The ICRC also met separately with Qatari authorities but stated that it was not part of negotiations aimed at freeing hostages but as a neutral mediator ready to facilitate any future release agreed upon by both parties.
The possibility of a hostage deal has been circulating for days now, with reports suggesting that Qatari mediators are seeking an agreement for Hamas and Israel to exchange 50 hostages in exchange for a three-day ceasefire that would increase emergency aid deliveries to civilians in Gaza. However, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed as emphasized by White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer during his appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
The October 7 attack by Hamas killed 1,200 people in Israel’s 75-year history prompting Israel’s invasion of Palestine territory resulting in severe casualties and ongoing conflict despite ongoing peace talks between both sides.