Israel-Hamas hostage deal nears finish line

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is convening special meetings with his government this week to discuss the deal, which has involved intense negotiations.


Along with Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas, the U.S. and Qatar have also worked on the deal.


Netanyahu will meet with his war cabinet and security team before the rest of the government as they hope to secure the release of some of the 239 hostages held by Hamas.


In exchange for the release of some 50 hostages, Israel will reportedly agree to a truce for a few days and may also release some Palestinian prisoners.


“I hope there will be good news soon,” Netanyahu said at an event on Tuesday of the hostage deal.


Netanyahu vowed the pause will only be temporary and that his forces will destroy Hamas in retaliation for the group’s Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,200 people in southern Israel.


“The first goal is eliminating Hamas,” he said. “We are not stopping until this is carried out.”


White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said any deal must be approved by both Hamas and Israel but said the negotiations were in a “delicate” phase.


“We are closer than we’ve been,” Kirby told reporters.


Hamas has already released four hostages in brokered deals last month, while Israel this month rescued one soldier who was taken captive. 


At least two hostages have been found dead in Gaza, according to Israel.


Asked about the potential deal to secure the release of more hostages, President Biden on Tuesday hinted a deal was close. “Things are looking good.”


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