The heads of the CIA and the Mossad intelligence agency met with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Thursday to discuss a possible deal for the release of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, a source briefed on the meeting told Reuters.
The outcome of the discussion, which included talks on a possible halt to Israel’s military campaign against Hamas terrorists, was unclear, added the report.
CIA Director William Burns and Mossad Director David Barnea sat down with Sheikh Mohammed after Qatari mediators met with Hamas terrorists earlier this week to discuss the parameters of a possible deal.
Qatar and Egypt are negotiating the possible release of a number of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip in exchange for a “humanitarian pause” of Israel’s operation against the terrorist group, reports said on Wednesday.
Negotiations led by Qatar, in coordination with the United States, are focused on the release of 10 to 15 hostages in exchange for a short pause of the IDF operation, a source briefed on the negotiations told Reuters.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s state-owned Al-Akhbar daily claimed that Cairo was close to reaching a deal for an “exchange” of hostages in return for a temporary truce.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to address the issue, while a source in the Prime Minister’s Office told JNS that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is not commenting on the sensitive issue of hostage negotiations.”
On Sunday, Netanyahu said that Israel will not agree to any ceasefire with Hamas unless the terrorist group releases the approximately 240 hostages it kidnapped during its Oct. 7 attacks.
“There will be no ceasefire without the return of the hostages. This should be completely removed from the lexicon,” said Netanyahu following a tour of Ramon Air Force Base in the Negev Desert.
On Thursday, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization published videos showing two of the Israeli hostages. Local media identified them as Hannah Katzir, 77, and Yagil Yaakov, 13, both abducted from their homes in Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7.
JNS has decided not to publish the propaganda videos on its website.
President Joe Biden asked Netanyahu to institute daily humanitarian pauses, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday.
The first four-hour humanitarian pause is set to be announced later on Thursday, Kirby claimed, adding that Jerusalem committed to announcing each window at least three hours in advance.
The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement reiterating that “the fighting is continuing and there will be no ceasefire without the release of our hostages.
“Israel is enabling safe corridors from the Strip’s north to its south, as 50,000 Gazans did only yesterday. We once again call on the civilian population in Gaza to evacuate to the south,” Netanyahu’s office stated.