Gaza war: As truce efforts pick up pace, Netanyahu says unsure of hostage deal

Iran condemns fresh US, UK strikes on Houthi targets

Israel Gaza hostage deal Friends and relatives of the Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militant group attend a rally calling for their release in Tel Aviv, Israel | AP

Amid talks of hostage deal, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that it is not clear yet whether a deal would happen from the ongoing talks.

While speaking in an interview with CBS News, Netanyahu said he was meeting with staff later to review a dual military plan that included the evacuation of Palestinian civilians in Rafah.

“If we have a deal, it will be delayed somewhat, but it will happen. If we don’t have a deal, we’ll do it anyway,” he told CBS.

Netanyahu's remarks come as Qatar is gearing up to host mediated talks between Hamas and Israel that will aim to finalise an agreement on a truce soon.

According to sources, representatives from both Israel and Hamas will travel to Cairo for further talks aimed at reaching an agreement relating to hostages and prisoner release.

Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Sullivan said that Israel, Egypt, Qatar and United States came to understanding of "basic contours" of hostage deal for temporary ceasefire.

The secretive talks in Paris involving David Barnea, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service and Qatari prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani gives hope for a deal to be struck soon.

Meanwhile, the US and UK strikes targeting Houthi targets was condemned by Iran. “With such attacks, America and Britain seek to escalate tensions and crises in the region, and expand the scope of war and instability...Certainly, this kind of arbitrary and aggressive military operation, aside from aggravating insecurity and instability in the region, will not achieve anything for these aggressor countries," said Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Nasser Kanani in a statement.

The US and UK carried out strikes against 18 Houthi targets including underground weapons and missile storage facilities in Yemen on Saturday.

The strikes were against Houthi targets across eight locations and also included air defence systems, radars, and a helicopter, officials said. 


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