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Negotiators see progress on Israel-Hamas ceasefire and hostage release

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A meeting in France on Sunday will bring together the heads of US, Israeli and Egyptian intelligence and the prime minister of Qatar for further negotiations.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Negotiators say they are making progress on a potential deal under which Israel would suspend military operations against Hamas in Gaza for two months in exchange for the release of more than 100 hostages captured in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, according to two senior U.S. officials . officials.

The officials, who requested anonymity to discuss the delicate negotiations, said Saturday that the emerging terms of the yet-to-be-signed deal will take place in two phases.

In the first phase, fighting would stop to allow Hamas to release the remaining women, elderly and wounded hostages.

Israel and Hamas would then aim to work out details during the first 30-day pause for a second phase in which Israeli soldiers and civilians would be released. The emerging deal also requires Israel to allow more humanitarian aid to Gaza.

While the proposed agreement would not end the war, U.S. officials hope that such an agreement could lay the foundation for a lasting resolution to the conflict.

The New York Times reported for the first time on Saturday that progress had been made toward a deal for a pause in fighting in exchange for the remaining hostages.

CIA Director Bill Burns is expected to discuss the contours of the emerging deal when he meets in France on Sunday with David Barnea, head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and the head of Egyptian intelligence Abbas Kamel for talks. focused on the hostage negotiation, according to three people familiar with the scheduled meeting and not authorized to comment publicly.

President Joe Biden spoke by phone on Friday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani. Calls with both leaders focused on the hostage situation.

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