The Palestinian militant group Hamas is reportedly close to a truce deal with Israel, according to the head of Hamas who spoke to Reuters on Tuesday. This comes as rockets continue to be fired at Israel and the deadly attack on Gaza continues.
Qatari mediators have been involved in the talks, according to a statement from Ismail Haniyeh, which was sent to Reuters by his aide. The statement did not provide further details, but a Hamas official told Al Jazeera TV that the talks focused on how long the truce would last and agreements to deliver aid to Gaza and the exchange of Israeli hostages held by Hamas for Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Both sides will release women and children, with details to be released by Qatar, which is mediating the talks.
The ICRC met with Haniyeh in Qatar on Monday to “advance humanitarian issues” related to the conflict, according to an ICRC statement based in Geneva. It also met separately with Qatari authorities. The ICRC said it was not part of negotiations aimed at freeing the hostages but as a neutral mediator it was ready to “facilitate any future release agreed upon by the parties.”
Reports of an imminent hostage deal have been circulating for days, with Qatari mediators seeking a ceasefire agreement and exchange of hostages. US officials, Israeli ambassador to the US, and Qatari Prime Minister have expressed hopes for a deal in the coming days and reported minor remaining concerns. However, the White House has emphasized that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
The October 7 attack by Hamas resulted in severe casualties and ongoing conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. Despite ongoing talks for a truce deal, rockets continue to be fired at Israel from Gaza and tensions remain high between both sides.