update deskIsrael at War

CIA, Mossad heads land in Qatar to urge release of all Gaza hostages

“The Washington Post” reported that William Burns is pushing for a new agreement to include male hostages and IDF personnel held in the Gaza Strip.

Mossad Director David Barnea speaks at the opening of the Eli Cohen National Museum in Herzliya, Dec. 12, 2022. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
Mossad Director David Barnea speaks at the opening of the Eli Cohen National Museum in Herzliya, Dec. 12, 2022. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

The heads of the CIA and Mossad intelligence agencies landed in Doha on Tuesday ahead of meetings with Qatari officials aimed at securing the release of additional hostages held by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, according to media reports.

CIA director William Burns and Mossad director David Barnea will reportedly meet with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani to discuss the current outline for the release of women and children, as well as a new deal to bring all hostages home.

Hamas kidnapped some 240 people during its Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel, during which thousands of heavily armed gunmen murdered some 1,200 people and wounded more than 5,000 others.

Under the four-day ceasefire that began on Friday morning, Hamas has freed a total of 50 Israeli women and children. The terror group released an “extra” Israeli hostage on Sunday, a man with dual Russian citizenship, in a gesture to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In addition to temporarily pausing its military campaign against Gaza terrorists, Israel agreed to release some 150 female and teenage Palestinian security prisoners, many of whom are affiliated with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terror factions.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Burns is pushing for a future agreement to also include male hostages and Israeli Defense Forces personnel held in the Gaza Strip. It was not clear if Israel would have to commit to releasing male terrorists in return.

Approximately 175 Israelis and foreigners are still in Hamas captivity, including Kfir Bibas, who was 9 months old when he was taken hostage by Hamas on Oct. 7, along with his parents and 4-year-old brother.

On Monday night, Qatar, which has long acted as a mediator for the Palestinian terrorists, announced that Israel and Hamas agreed to extend the ceasefire-for-hostages agreement by two days.

A spokesperson for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said that “as part of the ongoing mediation, an agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip.”

According to U.S. National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby, Hamas has committed to releasing another 20 women and children.

As part of the ceasefire extension, Israel has received from Hamas a list of 10 hostages to be released from Gaza on Tuesday, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said. The list is being reviewed and families of the captives are being notified, the PMO added.

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