Israel, the United States and Hamas are close to a deal that could see dozens of women and children by the Islamist militant group in Gaza freed in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.
The release of the hostages could begin within the next several days, the US daily reported, citing people familiar with the negotiations.
The agreement, should it materialize, could lead to the first sustained pause in the , the report said.
Israel has not immediately responded to the publication’s report.
A White House spokesperson said no deal has been reached yet and that the US is continuing to work to get a deal between Israel and Hamas.
, the United States, Germany and the European Union designate as a terror organization. Hamas militants took some 240 people hostage and killed 1,200 during terror attacks in southern Israel on October 7.
Israel’s military campaign against the militants has killed some 12,300 people, including about 5,000 children, according to Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
The Post reported that the agreement was sketched out during weeks of talks in Doha, Qatar, among Israel, the United States and Hamas, indirectly represented by Qatari mediators, according to Arab and other diplomats.
However, it was unclear until now that Israel would agree to pause its offensive in Gaza temporarily, provided the conditions were right, the Washington Post said.
The paper said the six-page deal calls for all parties to the conflict to halt combat operations for at least five days while an initial 50 or more hostages would be released in smaller groups every 24 hours.
The Post said it was not clear how many of the hostages would be released under the agreement.
The report said that overhead surveillance would monitor movement on the ground to regulate the pause.
The freeze in fighting is also intended to allow a crucial increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance, including fuel, to enter the Palestinian enclave from Egypt, the report said.
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