Israel, Hamas in talks of a new deal as truce about to expire
Israel and Hamas are in talks through mediators over a possible renewal of the Gaza truce on Wednesday, as the truce is about to expire and the Israeli attacks resume.
The names of the hostages set to be released later on Wednesday were informed to the Israeli families, according to Israel’s public broadcaster, Kan.
Moreover, Hamas leaders released a list of Palestinians to be freed from Israeli custody in return. The list includes 15 women, 15 teenagers, and Palestinian citizens of Israel, as well as civilians of occupied territory, which is the first to be acted on.
This next group would be the last to get released unless the deal between Israel and Hamas is renewed.
Although both sides were willing to extend the truce, no agreement had yet been reached, a Palestinian official told Reuters. However, talks with the mediators, Qatar and Egypt, were still ongoing, the official added.
Eylon Levy, a spokesman for the Israeli government, stated that Israel would examine any significant proposal, but he would not elaborate.
“Nothing is confirmed until it is confirmed,” Levy told reporters in Tel Aviv. The attacks will continue the very moment the release of hostages is completed, he added.
As per the agreement that resulted in the first ceasefire in the war, Hamas militants have released 60 Israeli women and children out of the 240 hostages they took. Under different parallel agreements, twenty-one foreigners, mostly farmworkers from Thailand, were also released.
180 Palestinian women and teenagers who were detained for security reasons have been freed by Israel in exchange.
Tuesday saw a 48-hour extension of the initial four-day truce, and Israel says it is willing to extend it further as long as Hamas releases ten hostages every day. However, since there are now fewer women and children held captive, that may require first agreeing to conditions governing the release of at least some Israeli men.
Along with Hamas, hostages held by the militant organisation Islamic Jihad were also released on Tuesday for the first time, which was an issue in previous negotiations on whether Hamas was able to secure the release of hostages held by other factions.