Israel and Hamas are close to finalizing an agreement facilitated by the US to pause the conflict for five days and release hostages, according to a new report.
A six-page agreement outlines details to pause combat operations on both sides for at least five days, as Hamas releases 50 or more hostages in batches every 24 hours, people familiar with the deal told The Washington Post.
The hostages may be released in the next several days, the sources told the Post.
“We’ve made some progress recently and have been working hard to advance this, but it remains a volatile situation,” an official told the Post on Saturday on condition of anonymity.
Business Insider could not immediately verify the details in the Post’s report.
The Israel Defense Forces, the Qatari government, and the UN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“No deal yet, but we continue to work hard to get a deal,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson told Business Insider in a statement.
The same statement was reiterated by the NSC in a post on X, responding directly to the Post report. Watson wrote on X, “We have not reached a deal yet, but we continue to work hard to get to a deal.”
We have not reached a deal yet, but we continue to work hard to get to a deal. https://t.co/rbSqcqfaKo
— Adrienne Watson (@NSC_Spox) November 19, 2023
A similar proposal that fell through was discussed earlier last month, days before Israel launched its ground assault on Gaza on October 27, The New York Times reported.
The deal also outlined a plan for Hamas to release up to 50 hostages if Israel put a halt on its bombardment, according to the report.
Hamas’ armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades, re-visited the idea of a potential truce that would release 70 hostages in return for a five-day ceasefire earlier on Monday.
“Last week there was an effort from the Qatari brothers to release the enemy captives from women and children, in return for the release of 200 Palestinian children and 75 women detained by the enemy,” Abu Ubaida, the spokesman for al-Qassam Brigades, said in an audio recording that was posted on Telegram.
Roughly 240 hostages were believed to be taken prisoner during Hamas’ terrorist attack in southern Israel on October 7. The surprise assault killed around 1,200 people.
Since then, Israel has launched a brutal bombing campaign in Gaza and a subsequent ground invasion of the region.
The strikes have killed more than 11,000 people, according to Gaza’s health ministry.