However, insiders say some key hurdles remain in the deal.
Talks on a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of hostages held by Hamas intensified on Tuesday.
“Agitation [Hamas] has given its response to the Qatari brothers and mediators. “We are getting closer to the conclusion of a ceasefire agreement,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a brief message sent to AFP by his office on Tuesday.
According to sources in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the second-largest Palestinian militant group, both have agreed to a deal, the details of which are set to be announced by Qatar and other mediators.
The Israeli government did not immediately react to these statements.
Qatar, Egypt and the United States are working on a deal to free hostages kidnapped by Hamas in Israel in exchange for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, “We have never come this close, we are convinced. But there is still work to do. Nothing is done until everything is done.”
When a journalist asked: “Is a deal to release the hostages close?”, US President Joe Biden responded in Washington: “I think so”.
mortgage release details
Two sources close to the matter told French press agency AFP on Tuesday that discussions centered on the release of “50 to 100” hostages in exchange for 300 Palestinian prisoners in Israel, including children and women.
The transfer, at a rate of “ten” Israeli hostages versus “thirty” Palestinian prisoners per day, would take place in phases and would include the entry of food, medical aid and fuel into Gaza and above all a “renewable five-day humanitarian ceasefire”. ,
But Israel insists on “family reunification” – meaning that if a civilian is released, so will their partner, even if they are a soldier. Hamas has currently refused to accept the release of Israeli troops, according to two sources cited by AFP.
Relatives of hostages met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his “war cabinet” on Monday evening in pressure to return some 240 hostages to Israel.
Netanyahu declared, “Bringing back our hostages is a sacred and supreme task and I am committed to it.”
“We will not stop fighting until we bring our hostages home, destroy Hamas and ensure there is no further threat from Gaza,” he said.
Bringing hostages home is one of the objectives of the ongoing Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip, which was launched after Hamas’ bloody attack on October 7.
The Palestinian movement claims that several hostages have been killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza. Some others have been freed by Hamas for humanitarian reasons. The fate of the rest is unknown.
In Israel, a surprise attack by Hamas killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to officials. It was the deadliest episode in Israel’s history.
In retaliation, Israel vowed to “destroy” Hamas – considered a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel – and has been continuously shelling Gaza with its forces since October 27.
According to Hamas, Israeli bombardments in the Gaza Strip have killed more than 13,300 people, including about 5,600 children.
The international community has urged Israel to show restraint and follow the rules of war, with some claiming that Palestinian civilians are being collectively punished for Hamas’ atrocities.
According to the United Nations, about 1.7 million of the 2.4 million Gazans have been displaced due to the war.
Israel’s almost complete siege of the enclave since 9 October, which has blocked supplies of food, water, electricity and medical supplies, has placed the population in a dire humanitarian situation.