Hamas Chief claims close to reaching truce deal in war with Israel.

In Doha, Qatar, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announced on Tuesday that his movement is nearing a truce agreement with Israel, as stated in a Telegram post. Haniyeh mentioned, “We are close to reaching a deal on a truce.” Negotiations aim to finalize an agreement for the release of approximately 240 hostages, mostly Israelis, captured on October 7 during the deadliest assault on Israel in its history.

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Hamas fighters caused around 1,200 casualties, primarily civilians, during their cross-border assault. In response, Israel launched a relentless bombing campaign and ground offensive, vowing to destroy Hamas and secure the hostages’ release. The conflict, according to the Hamas government in Gaza, has claimed over 13,300 lives, including thousands of children.

Mediated by Qatar, where Hamas maintains a political office and where Haniyeh is based, intense negotiations have been underway. Qatar’s prime minister stated that a deal hinged on “minor” practical issues. US President Joe Biden expressed belief in the proximity of a hostage deal on Monday.

Sources familiar with the talks indicated a tentative deal involving a five-day truce, consisting of a ground ceasefire and restrictions on Israeli air operations over southern Gaza. In return, 50 to 100 prisoners held by Hamas and Islamic Jihad would be released, including Israeli civilians and captives of other nationalities but excluding military personnel. The proposed deal also includes the release of around 300 Palestinians from Israeli jails, including women and children.

While the White House confirmed negotiations were in the “endgame” stage, it refrained from providing further details to avoid jeopardizing the outcome. The International Committee of the Red Cross disclosed that its president had met with Hamas’s Haniyeh in Qatar to address humanitarian issues related to the conflict in Israel and Gaza. The organization persistently called for the immediate release of hostages and appealed for urgent protection for all victims in the conflict.

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