Israel and Hamas set to agree pause to save hostages before bloody Gaza battle

Israel, the US and Hamas have reached a tentative deal for a five-day ceasefire to allow the release of dozens of women and children hostages, it has been reported.

As part of the six-page agreement, all groups would halt combat operations for at least five days while “an initial 50 or more hostages are released in smaller groups every 24 hours,” the Washington Post reported.

Hamas took more than 240 hostages on October 7 when the terror group launched an unprecedented attack on Israel which saw around 1,200 Israelis killed – the vast majority civilians. Only four hostages have been released since the war started, two elderly Israeli women and two American women.

The UK and the US believe some of their citizens are being held by Hamas or other terrorist groups in Gaza. Up to 10 Britons are believed to be held while Washinton believes nine Americans – including a three-year-old boy – and one legal permanent resident are being held.

It’s unclear how many of the 239 hostages believed to still be in captivity would be released under the deal. Additionally, in previous statements, Hamas’s military wing the Al Qassam Brigades has claimed that as many as 60 hostages had been killed by Israeli airstrikes – that information is impossible to verify.

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The Post reported that aerial surveillance would be used to monitor the situation on the ground and police the deal while that would also see significant humanitarian aid enter Gaza.

However, earlier Sunday morning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threw cold water on the hopes of a ceasefire denying any such deal existed.

Netanyahu said “as of now” no deal had been reached to secure the hostages’ release and that there were “a lot of incorrect reports” about an imminent pause. He said that the Israeli public would be notified as soon as any deal emerged.

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Israeli National Security Council head Tzachi Hanegbi said a limited ceasefire would occur only if there was “a massive release of our hostages … and it will be limited and short because after that we will continue to work towards achieving our war goals”.

The White House also denied that a deal had been reached. National Security Council spokesperson National Security Council said: “No deal yet but we continue to work hard to get a deal.”

The potential deal is said to be a result of the talks ongoing in Doha, Qatar between Israel, the US and Hamas which is being represented by Qatari mediators.

Pressure on Israel is mounting after more than 100 countries called for a ceasefire in Gaza. The US and the UK have not called for a full ceasefire.

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