Hamas chief Haniyeh confirms 'truce deal'; hostages to be swapped for Palestinian prisoners

Both sides would free women and children; Qatar to announce details

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS/AXIS Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh

The chief of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, has announced that the militant group was "close to reaching a truce agreement" with Israel. Hamas has reportedly delivered its response to Qatari mediators, said sources. 

Though Haniyeh gave no more details, another Hamas official, Izzat al-Rishq, told Al Jazeera that the talks were focused on the period of the truce, arrangements for delivery of aid into Gaza and the exchange of Israeli hostages held by Hamas for Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Al-Rishq added that the truce talks were going on for weeks but Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was stalling. He said the deal was agreed upon by all the brigades in the Palestinian resistance through phone calls.

Meanwhile, Israeli media has also reported that the country’s war cabinet met on Sunday to discuss the deal and expressed willingness to go ahead with the negotiations. It wanted to send a message to Qatar that it is ready to reach a deal, Al-Jazeera reported.

Though Netanyahu has so far not revealed the details of the deal, the country's Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that he hoped for an agreement "in the coming days". International Committee of the Red Cross president Mirjana Spoljaric met Haniyeh in Qatar on Monday to "advance humanitarian issues" related to the conflict. She has also met separately with Qatari authorities.

As for the US, both President Joe Biden and senior Biden administration officials have hinted that the deal is nearing closure. When asked about the future of the deal, Biden said he believed that the deal was close. "I believe so," the US President said when he was asked whether a deal was near during a Thanksgiving ceremony at the White House.

"Sensitive negotiations like this can fall apart at the last minute," White House Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer told NBC's "Meet the Press"  program on Sunday. "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed." 

Meanwhile, the relatives of some of the people held by Hamas in Gaza urged far-right Israeli lawmakers on Monday not to pursue the proposed capital punishment for captured Palestinian militants, saying that even talk of doing so might endanger the hostages. 


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