Hamas’s armed wing said Monday that it discussed with Qatari mediators a deal to free up to 70 Israeli hostages in exchange for a five-day ceasefire and the release of some Palestinian prisoners.
“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,” said Abu Ubaida, spokesman for al-Qassam Brigades, according to Reuters.
“The truce should include a complete ceasefire and allow aid and humanitarian relief everywhere in the Gaza Strip,” Ubaida said. He added that Israel was “procrastinating and evading” the price of the deal.
Also on Monday, David Ignatius of The Washington Post reported that Israel and Hamas are close to a hostage deal that would free most Israeli women and children. “The general outline of the deal is understood,” an Israeli official said. The report said Israel is hoping 100 people will be freed.
The Guardian reported last week that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a deal earlier in the conflict that would have involved a five-day ceasefire in exchange for Hamas freeing children, women, the elderly, and sick people. Israel showed its rejection of the deal by launching its ground invasion of Gaza, which started on October 27.
Israel estimates 240 Israelis are being held hostage in Gaza who were captured during the October 7 Hamas attack, which killed about 1,200 Israelis. So far, Hamas has released four people and has claimed some were killed by Israeli airstrikes, but that has not been confirmed.