In reaction to “developments” pertaining to the developing agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for special cabinet sessions and expressed optimism that a deal to release hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip would be finalized “soon.”
Speaking about the attempts to strike an agreement to liberate some of the hostages in return for the release of Palestinian inmates and a multi-day temporary cease-fire, Netanyahu said on Tuesday, “We are making progress.” The negotiations are being mediated by Qatar.
Xinhua news agency said that he added, “I hope there will be good news soon,” while on a trip close to the Israel-Lebanon border.
Tuesday night’s meeting of Israel’s war cabinet was followed by the government and security cabinet meetings.
These extraordinary meetings are being held “in light of developments regarding the release of our hostages,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a news release.
Any possible exchange agreement that involves the release of Palestinian detainees must be put to a vote in both the government and the security cabinet in Israel, per standard protocol.
According to a report by Israel’s state-owned Kan TV news earlier on Tuesday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that the group’s representatives are “close to reaching a truce agreement” with Israel and that Hamas has sent their answer to Qatar.
Kan reported that the agreement would see a few days of ceasefire along with the release of female and adolescent Palestinian inmates from Israeli jails in return for the release of around fifty civilian hostages held by Hamas.
On October 7, Hamas terrorists carried out surprise operations that resulted in the capture of some 240 captives, including civilians, soldiers, women, children, and senior citizens from several countries. The incident claimed the lives of almost 1,200 individuals, most of them civilians. The government media office in the beleaguered enclave reports that at least 13,000 people have died in the Gaza Strip since Israel’s huge onslaught on that same day, most of them civilians.