Hamas agrees to release hostages in Israel-Gaza strip negotiations

Picture courtesy of Leo Correa, AP

The Hamas group has agreed in principle to release at least 50 women and children held in Israel, in exchange for approximately 240 foreign and Israeli nationals currently detained in the Gaza Strip. The agreement is now under consideration by Israel.

According to Arab diplomats, these negotiations took place in Qatar, with the country also acting as a mediator between Hamas and Israel. The proposed deal would see Israel halting military activities for a period of three to five days, to facilitate humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip and the release of undisclosed numbers of women and children held in Israeli prisons.

High-ranking officials from the USA and other groups spent most of Wednesday awaiting Israel’s response. The Israeli side has stated that negotiations are ongoing. Senior officials from President Biden’s administration stated earlier this week that the USA is involved in hour-by-hour negotiations to secure the release of the hostages held by Israel, with the Qatari government mediating between Hamas and Israel, reported Sanook.

However, Arab diplomats and others familiar with the delicate negotiations warn that the proposed agreement could still fall apart, as have previous offers. While some agreed-upon principles have been determined, differing numbers of hostages involved and release conditions have only been agreed upon in general terms.

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The hope is that an agreement on the release of some prisoners could lead to further discussions on the release of remaining prisoners in the Gaza Strip, which Hamas has previously stated would involve the capture of Israeli soldiers, believed to number several dozen, clearly with the intent to use them in exchange for armed Palestinian groups held in Israeli prisons.

The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the War Cabinet declined to comment on Wednesday regarding potential agreements with the hostages. Netanyahu stated at a military camp in southern Israel that there is no place in the Gaza Strip that we cannot reach. There is no hiding, no shelter, and no refuge for Hamas murderers. The hostages will be released, and Hamas will be destroyed.

So far, Israel has agreed to safely open travel for several hours each day along two main roads for civilians to travel south from the northern part of the Gaza Strip, where the conflict is concentrated, and in some nearby areas to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid by the United Nations and Palestine.

World News

Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

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