Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Negotiations aimed at securing the release of hostages taken during Hamas’s October 7 attacks on Israel have reached the “closest point” to a deal and are now in the “final stage,” according to Qatar, the mediator overseeing the talks.

Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Majed Al-Ansari, stated on Tuesday, “We are at the closest point we ever had been in reaching an agreement,” emphasizing that the negotiations have entered a “critical and final stage.” The mediation efforts, facilitated by Qatar, aim to secure the release of some of the 240 hostages in exchange for a temporary ceasefire. So far, this mediation has resulted in the release of four hostages.

Al-Ansari expressed optimism and hopefulness during a briefing, stating, “But we are also very keen for this mediation to succeed in reaching a humanitarian truce.”

Following the October 7 attacks, Israel has pledged to dismantle Hamas, attributing approximately 1,200 casualties, mostly civilians, to the incidents. In response, Israel has initiated a continuous retaliatory bombing campaign and a ground offensive in Gaza, resulting in the death of over 13,300 individuals, with two-thirds of them being women or children, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

The United States has been actively involved in securing a deal between Israel and Hamas. While reports suggested a tentative agreement involving the release of women and children hostages in exchange for a temporary halt in fighting, the White House denied any significant breakthrough.

Al-Ansari addressed the ongoing speculations, stating, “We have seen a lot of leaks or statements here and there, but we would prefer to keep our statements until we have a final decision on the agreement.” The situation remains fluid as efforts continue towards a resolution.

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