Ceasefire and hostage release: USA reports agreement in principle between Hamas and Israel

Ceasefire and hostage release
USA reports basic agreement between Hamas and Israel

Negotiations are still ongoing, but according to the US President’s security adviser, the basic outline of the deal is for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of the Israeli hostages. However, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is sticking to an offensive in Rafah.

According to the US, negotiators have found a basis for understanding for a possible agreement in the efforts to achieve a ceasefire and the release of the Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip. The representatives of Israel, the United States, Egypt and Qatar agreed “on the outlines of a hostage agreement for a temporary ceasefire” at their meeting in Paris, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told CNN.

Negotiations are ongoing and the details still need to be worked out, Sullivan said. “There will be indirect discussions between Qatar and Egypt with Hamas because they ultimately have to agree to the release of the hostages.” The work will continue “and we hope that in the coming days we can reach a point where there is a stable and final agreement on this issue.”

An Israeli delegation led by the head of the Israeli foreign intelligence service Mossad, David Barnea, held talks in Paris on Friday to explore possibilities for a new ceasefire and the release of hostages held by the radical Islamic Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In return, Hamas is demanding, among other things, the release of imprisoned Palestinians from Israeli prisons and Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian media reported on the continuation of negotiations in Doha. Talks between “experts from Egypt, Qatar, the United States and Israel” and Hamas representatives continued in the capital of the Gulf emirate of Qatar, Al-Kahera News reported. They are a “continuation of what was discussed in Paris” and will be “followed by meetings in Cairo.”

Netanyahu: Offensive in Rafah is definitely coming

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would stick to a planned military operation in the southern Gaza town of Rafah despite a possible ceasefire. “If we have an agreement (on a ceasefire), it will be a little delayed, but it will happen,” Netanyahu told US television channel CBS. “If we don’t have a deal, we’ll do it anyway.” Israel is only “weeks away” from a “comprehensive victory.”

In November, more than a hundred Israeli hostages were released in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners during a week-long ceasefire mediated by the United States, Qatar and Egypt.

The war was triggered by the major attack on Israel on October 7th by Hamas, which the EU and the USA classify as a terrorist organization. Islamist fighters committed atrocities primarily against civilians. According to Israeli information, around 1,160 people were killed and around 250 hostages were taken to the Gaza Strip. According to Israeli information, Hamas is still holding 130 hostages in the Gaza Strip, although around 30 of them are now believed to be dead.

In response to the Hamas attack, Israel has since taken massive military action in the Gaza Strip, with the declared aim of destroying Hamas. According to Hamas’ latest figures, which cannot be independently verified, more than 29,690 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory since then.

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