According to a statement by Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group is close to reaching a truce agreement with Israel. This revelation comes as rockets continue to be fired at Israel and the ongoing conflict in Gaza persists. Qatari mediators have been involved in the talks, according to Haniyeh’s aide.
The details of the truce deal are not yet clear, but it is believed that it will focus on agreements to deliver aid to Gaza and the exchange of Israeli hostages held by Hamas for Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Both sides will release women and children, with further details expected to be released by Qatar, which is mediating the talks.
On Monday, Mirjana Špoljarić Egger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), met with Haniyeh in Qatar to “advance humanitarian issues” related to the conflict. The ICRC also met separately with Qatari authorities. Although it was not part of negotiations aimed at freeing hostages, the ICRC stated that it was ready to act as a neutral mediator and facilitate any future releases agreed upon by both parties.
Stories about an imminent hostage deal have been circulating for days now. Last week, Reuters reported that Qatari mediators were seeking a deal 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 has been officially confirmed yet.
Israel’s ambassador to the United States expressed hope for an agreement “in the coming days,” while Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani stated that remaining concerns were “very minor.” On Monday, US President Joe Biden and other US officials stated that a deal was close despite previous close calls. White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer emphasized on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.