Hamas is close to a cease-fire deal with Israel, the head of the Palestinian independence group said.
Despite continued deadly Israeli attacks on Gaza and rocket fire into Israel from the Palestinian enclave, there are strong indications from both sides that the two sides are close to a ceasefire agreement.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh also confirmed the matter in a statement sent to Reuters through an aide on Tuesday.
Haniya said Hamas officials were “close to reaching a ceasefire agreement” with Israel and that the group had “communicated their response” to Qatari mediators.
However, no further details were known about the terms of the potential deal.
On Monday, US President Joe Biden said he believed the two sides were close to a deal.
“We’re closer than we’ve been before,” White House spokesman John Kerby said of the hostage settlement.
He said they were close to agreeing on a deal to allow the release of some hostages held in Gaza and the entry of much-needed aid into the besieged enclave.
On October 7, 1,200 people were killed in an unprecedented deadly attack by Hamas fighters in southern Israel adjacent to the Palestinian territory of Gaza. During this attack, Hamas captured about 240 people from Israel and imprisoned them in Gaza.
But since that day, Israel started a terrible counter-attack on Gaza. The territory’s health ministry said 13,300 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in more than six weeks of relentless attacks. According to their data, the dead included at least 5,600 children and 3,550 women.
The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement that the organization’s president, Mirjana Spozaric, met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Monday in Qatar to discuss ‘humanitarian issues’ related to the Gaza conflict. He also held separate meetings with Qatari authorities.
The organization said it was not part of the talks aimed at freeing the hostages, but as neutral mediators it was ready to “facilitate any future release if the parties agree”.