According to senior Israeli officials, there is a strong possibility that the details of a hostage deal will be finalized in the coming hours, Israeli media reported.
The proposed agreement involved the release of approximately 50 Israeli children and their mothers in exchange for a four-day ceasefire. It will take place in a 3:1 format, three Palestinian prisoners for each hostage.
Under the terms of the deal, Hamas has committed to locating the remaining children and mothers. In return, Israel has agreed to release women and minors from Israeli prisons who were involved in acts of terror.
Hamas officials were “close to reaching a truce agreement” with Israel and the group has delivered its response to Qatari mediators, its leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement sent to Reuters by his aide.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “We are making progress. I don’t think it’s worth saying too much, not even at this moment, but I hope there will be good news soon.” Netanyahu is scheduled to convene his War Cabinet on Tuesday evening to approve the deal.
Additionally, both parties are expected to confirm the provision of fuel and monetary assistance in the Gaza Strip.
A source briefed on the negotiations told Reuters that the long-awaited agreement, which would see the first truce of the war and the first mass release of those held by both sides, was in its “final stages” and “closer than it has ever been.”
This was echoed by a US official who said it was the “closest we’ve been” to a hostage deal.
Who will be released if the deal is to be finalized?
According to a CNN report, American officials hope that among the hostages that will be released is a 3-year-old American citizen.
The other hostages to be released are comprised of several different nationalities, and it is unclear how many of each nationality would be released.
According to the report, the ceasefire has the potential to be extended to allow for the release of more hostages. Should a temporary ceasefire be reached, the IDF would stop flying surveillance drones for six hours daily over Gaza.
Joanie Margulies contributed to this report.