Amid ongoing attacks and the conflict in Gaza, Hamas is close to a truce deal with Israel, according to a statement by its head Ismail Haniyeh 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, which focused on 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 International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) met with Haniyeh in Qatar on Monday to “advance humanitarian issues” related to the conflict. 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, White House has emphasized that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
The October 7 attack by Hamas prompted Israel to invade Palestinian territory in order to destroy Hamas. Since then, Hamas-led Gaza government has said that at least 13,300 Palestinians were killed during relentless Israeli bombardment including at least 5600 children and 3550 women. On Monday Hamas announced that it had launched a barrage of rockets towards Tel Aviv and central Israel, indicating how complex and fragile situation remains despite ongoing talks for truce deal