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Qatar: Hamas gives initial approval for hostages-for-ceasefire deal

Qatar received an "initial positive confirmation" from the terror group, Doha said.

Families of Israelis held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip protest outside the Israeli Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Oct. 14, 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.
Families of Israelis held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip protest outside the Israeli Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Oct. 14, 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.

Qatar has received an “initial positive confirmation” from the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza in response to its most recent hostages-for-ceasefire proposal, Doha’s Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday night, according to Al Jazeera.

“Israel agreed to the ceasefire proposal, and we have initial positive confirmation from Hamas,” the Qatari state-owned network cited Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed al-Ansari as saying.

However, a political source in Jerusalem told Ynet that Israel had not received any official update from Qatar. Israel’s War Cabinet was scheduled to meet on Thursday night at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv to discuss the recent developments in the negotiations.

Earlier this week, Jerusalem agreed to a framework for a renewed deal to secure the release of some hostages in exchange for a ceasefire, reported  The Washington Post on Tuesday. Hamas was considering the offer, according to the Post, citing officials familiar with the negotiations.

Civilians would reportedly be released over an initial six-week period, with soldiers and the bodies of dead hostages returned in subsequent stages.

Israel would agree to commute the sentences of an unspecified number of Palestinian terrorists from prison for each hostage. The agreement would also reportedly include “a temporary repositioning of Israeli troops away from high-population areas” in the Gaza Strip.

During a visit to Israel Defense Forces soldiers serving in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza on Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stressed that the ongoing military assault in the city “brings the return of the hostages closer, because Hamas only understands power.”

According to a snap poll conducted by Israel’s Channel 12 television on Tuesday, 50% of Israelis oppose a hostage deal that would see an extended pause in the fighting in Gaza and the release of thousands of Palestinian terrorists. Only 35% support the terms of the reported agreement, with the rest undecided.

According to official figures, 136 hostages remain in Gaza, although dozens are believed to be dead. Hamas kidnapped an estimated 240 people when it invaded the northwestern Negev on Oct. 7. Its terrorist operatives, along with some Gaza residents, murdered 1,200 people, overwhelmingly civilians, that day, and wounded thousands.

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