Israel, the United States and Hamas have reached a tentative agreement to free dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting, the Washington Post reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the deal.
As part of the detailed, six-page agreement, all parties would freeze combat operations for at least five days while ‘an initial 50 or more hostages are released in smaller groups every 24 hours’, the Post reported.
Hamas took about 240 hostages during its October 7 rampage inside Israel that killed 1,200 people.
It was not immediately clear how many of the 239 people believed to be in captivity in Gaza would be released under the deal. The newspaper said overhead surveillance would monitor ground movement to help police the pause, which also is intended to allow in a significant amount of humanitarian aid.
But early on Sunday morning in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied that any such deal was in place.
Israel, the United States and Hamas have reached a tentative agreement to free dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting, the Washington Post reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the deal
Civil defense teams, alongside local residents, conduct search and rescue operation within the debris of the residential buildings after Israeli attacks hit residential buildings at Jabalia Camp in Jabalia, Gaza on November 18, 2023
It is believed the pause in fighting would allow for a significant increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance, including fuel, to enter from Egypt.
The deal is said to be the outcome of weeks of talks in Doha, Qata involving Israel, the United States and Hamas who were represented by Qatari mediators.
Pressure has been increasing on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government with more than 100 countries calling for a full and immediate cease-fire – although, most notably, not the United States.
Two of the captives taken by Hamas have since been found dead and Hamas say 11,000 civilian Palestinians have been killed during the six week conflict.
Late on Saturday night a spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy said ‘we are not going to comment’ on any aspect of the hostage situation.
There was also no immediate comment from the White House or the Israeli prime minister’s office on the Post report.
The hostage release could begin within the next several days, according to people familiar with the agreement.
More to follow…
An IDF soldier directs a tank driver by gesturing near the northern Gaza border on November 17, 2023
People mourn as they collect the bodies of Palestinians killed in airstrikes on November 18, 2023 in Khan Yunis, Gaza
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