Hamas hostage release deal nears completion

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Negotiators are getting closer to an agreement with Hamas to release an initial 50 civilians in exchange for Israel allowing in more aid including fuel, coinciding with a limited pause in fighting, multiple sources told CBS News. More civilian hostage releases could potentially follow.

At this stage, there is no firm deal in hand but rather a written draft agreement that is being passed between parties who remain locked in what were described to CBS News as very difficult talks brokered with the help of the U.S. and Qatar, according to two sources familiar.

In an interview with “Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan,” White House deputy national security advisor Jon Finer said that “many areas of difference that previously existed” in the hostage talks “have been narrowed,” and that the U.S. is “closer than we have been to reaching a final agreement.”

Finer said it would not be helpful to detail the developing diplomacy in public, and acknowledged the caveat that past deals had been close before collapsing. Hopes were high last week that a breakthrough in diplomacy was finally imminent, but two officials in the region cited the Israeli military move on al-Shifa hospital as having complicated diplomacy with Hamas.

A source familiar with the draft agreement told CBS News that the proposal as it stands now would involve 50 hostages being released on day one with a limited pause in fighting that would last around four days for a duration of six hours a day. If that release and pause happens as planned, there would be a second release of around 20-25 hostages, according to this source. White House officials declined to comment on the sensitive diplomacy.

Read more at CBSnews.com


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!