Netanyahu: Progress made on hostage deal as Cabinet to convene

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping there will “soon” be good news regarding a deal to secure the release of some hostages being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, he said on Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s worth saying too much, not at even this moment, but I hope there will be good news soon. We are making progress,” the prime minister told soldiers of the 8101st Battalion of the Alexandroni Reserve Brigade serving near the border with Lebanon.

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Shortly after Netanyahu’s remarks, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that the War Cabinet would convene at 6 p.m. to discuss “developments regarding the release of our hostages,” followed by a meeting of the Political-Security Cabinet at 7 p.m. and the entire government one hour later.

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The Foreign Ministry of Qatar, which has tried to act as a mediator with the Gaza terrorists, said on Tuesday that negotiations were “at the closest point we ever have been in reaching an agreement.”

“We are very optimistic, we are very hopeful, but we are also very keen for this mediation to succeed in reaching a humanitarian truce,” ministry spokesperson Majed Al Ansari told reporters.

Hamas is holding some 240 Israelis hostages in Gaza, who were captured during the terror group’s Oct. 7 invasion of Israel.

According to a Channel 12 report on Tuesday, Israel and Hamas were “very close” to a hostage deal.

The report cited a senior Israeli official who said that while the sides have agreed to the outlines of an agreement, the parties were still hashing out various technical issues.

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The prospective deal would include the release of 40 children and 13 women in exchange for a five-day ceasefire, according to Hebrew-language media reports citing a political source.

Ten hostages would be released per day, with additional captives possibly being freed if the truce is extended. Hamas would guarantee that mothers are not separated from their children.

The first 10 hostages will be released on Thursday, per Israel’s Channel 12 News.

Israel has agreed to refrain from using surveillance drones in Gaza for six hours a day during the ceasefire, a demand Jerusalem previously refused, CNN reported on Tuesday.

The deal will reportedly also include the release of some 150 to 300 Palestinians jailed in Israel.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Jerusalem is “meticulously” verifying the names on the list of Palestinian prisoners who could be released as part of the deal to ensure that none of them are connected to Hamas.

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