Hamas has released the fourth batch of Israeli hostages held in Gaza, and more are expected to be freed in the coming days as Israel and Hamas agreed to extend the current truce for another two days.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has stated his group was getting close to an agreement on a ceasefire with Israel.
Haniyeh stated, “We are close to reaching a deal on a truce,” as stated in the post on Telegram. In an attempt to reach an agreement, negotiators have been trying to free some 240 hostages, most of whom are Israelis, who were taken during the worst attack on Israel in recorded history on October 7.
During their cross-border attack, Hamas fighters also claimed the lives of some 1,200 persons, the most of whom were civilians.
In response, Israel promised to destroy Hamas and ensure the release of the captives. It began a relentless bombing campaign and land invasion.
The Gaza-based Hamas administration claims that nearly 13,300 individuals have died in the conflict, many of whom were youngsters.
Hard discussions have been going on, mediated by Qatar, where Haniyeh is located and where Hamas has a political office.
Qatar’s prime minister said on Sunday that a deal to free some of the hostages in return for a temporary ceasefire hinged on “minor” practical issues.
US President Joe Biden stated on Monday that he thought an agreement to release the hostages was near.
“I think so,” Biden replied when asked if a solution involving hostages was imminent.
Then, Biden expressed his wish for good fortune by crossing his fingers.
A five-day truce that consists of a ground ceasefire and restrictions on Israeli air activities over southern Gaza is part of a provisional agreement, according to two people involved with the negotiations who spoke with a media agency.
In exchange, 50–100 detainees detained by Islamic Jihad, a different Palestinian organization, and Hamas, would be freed.
They would contain detainees of many countries as well as Israeli citizens, but no military people.
Approximately 300 Palestinians, including women and children, would be freed from Israeli prisons under the terms of the proposed agreement.
The White House stated that the talks were at the “endgame” phase but declined to provide any further information, citing concerns that doing so might compromise a favorable resolution.
In other news, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced on Monday that its president had visited Qatar in order to meet with Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, “to advance humanitarian issues related to the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza”.