Israel Approves Deal with Hamas for Hostage Release, Temporary Ceasefire

Late Tuesday, Israel’s cabinet approved a deal with Hamas, allowing for the release of hostages in exchange for a temporary halt in the conflict, as reported by multiple sources.

In the initial phase of the agreement, Israel will temporarily suspend its counteroffensive operations in the Gaza Strip for around four days. In return, Hamas is set to release 50 hostages, and Israel will release 150 Palestinian prisoners. Axios reports that additional Israeli hostages will be released by Hamas in exchange for extending the days of the ceasefire.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held discussions with his war and security cabinets before presenting the deal to the full cabinet on Tuesday. While U.S. and Israeli officials expressed optimism about the potential release of over 200 hostages held by Hamas, they refrained from disclosing specific details until the deal was finalized.

“We are advancing [toward a deal],” Netanyahu stated on Tuesday. “I don’t think I should say too much, even now, but I hope we have good news soon.” White House National Security Advisor John Kirby mentioned, “We’re closer now than we’ve been before. That’s a good thing,” expressing cautious optimism on Monday.

Hamas had previously released four hostages on Oct. 20 and Oct. 23, and Israel conducted a separate rescue mission on Oct. 30. However, the status and whereabouts of the majority of the hostages remain unknown.

Israeli officials have demanded the release of all hostages, rejecting calls for a ceasefire but agreeing to temporary “pauses” to facilitate humanitarian aid to Gaza. The Biden administration, while dismissing calls for a ceasefire, has urged Israel to maintain intermittent halts in the fighting.

The White House has not yet responded to requests for comment on the recent developments.

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