Israel and the United States refuted the claims of a breakthrough in negotiations with Hamas that could lead to the release of hostages and a possible ceasefire in Gaza.
A Washington Post report today said that US mediators were close to a deal between Israel and Hamas to free some of the 240 hostages in Gaza in exchange for a five-day pause in the war, which started on October 7.
Rejecting the reports, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there are “a lot of incorrect reports” in the media in recent days about imminent agreements to free at least some of the hostages. He added that the Israeli public will be updated if a deal emerges.
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White House National Security Council Spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, said, “We have not reached a deal yet, but we continue to work hard to get to a deal.”
As international calls for an immediate pause in the Gaza offensive, the Qatari Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, said that he has “growing confidence” that a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas will be reached soon. He said the challenges remaining to reach the deal were “very minor … just practical and logistical.”
Qatari mediators had been seeking a deal between Israel and Hamas to exchange 50 hostages in return for a three-day ceasefire, as per a report by news agency Reuters.
Israel witnessed multiple massive protests in the past few days as hundreds took to the streets in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, demanding the Netanyahu government to take immediate actions to bring the hostages back.
Meanwhile, the fight between Israel and the Hamas terrorists continued to intensify on Sunday in both the northern and southern parts of Gaza. The Israeli army has claimed that they have wrested control of large areas of the north and northwest and east around Gaza City.
Since October 7, when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in Israel, and 12,300 people, including 5,000 children, lost their lives in Palestine’s Gaza and West Bank.