Hostage deal announcement could come as soon as today

[21-11-2023 03:22 PM]

Ammon News - Qatar is hoping to announce a deal as soon as today to release civilian hostages taken by Hamas in the October 7th attack in exchange for a pause in fighting, according to a diplomatic source and another source familiar with the talks.

US officials close to the negotiations stressed that while the deal is not done, they are increasingly optimistic and believe the many weeks of difficult work are about to pay off with a hostage release.

“It’s very close,” a senior US official tells CNN.

Two Israeli sources also say a deal could be announced as soon as today. The release of the prisoners needs to be approved by the Israeli government but isn’t expected to be an obstacle, one says.

The deal would call for the release of 50 women and children hostages that the militant group took during the October 7th attack on Israel, in exchange for a four-to-five pause in fighting and three Palestinian prisoners for every civilian hostage released, according to multiple sources.

Under the agreement, Hamas would also gather up any additional women and children hostages during the period that fighting has paused —something the group has insisted that it cannot do until a full ceasefire is in place.

The temporary ceasefire would potentially be extended beyond that for more hostages to be released.

The hostages to be released are of various nationalities.

During the days that the fighting is paused, Israel would stop flying surveillance drones over northern Gaza for at least six hours each day, the person familiar said.

Diplomatic sources and government officials, including US President Joe Biden, over the last few days have struck a more optimistic tone about the progress of talks but the diplomatic source suggests a final agreement could be imminent.


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