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Israel-Gaza Live Updates: Hostage Negotiations in ‘Critical and Final Stage,’ Qatar Says

Negotiations to free some of those taken hostage by Hamas during the October 7 attack on Israel are closer than they have ever been, according to Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed Al -Ansari.

“The mediation has reached a critical and final stage and has moved beyond the key issues. What remains are limited issues and therefore we are the closest to an agreement since the beginning of this crisis,” Al-Ansari said during a press briefing. in Doha on Tuesday, adding that “we hope and seek that this will happen soon.”

Al-Ansari noted that it is very important to “choose the right time to announce the details” of Qatar’s mediation efforts in the latest outbreak of war between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s militant rulers, Hamas.

A Hamas leader in Beirut, Osama Hamdan, told ABC News on Tuesday morning that they were “waiting for the Israeli side to accept the deal.” However, he added a caveat: “Several times in the past we were close to an agreement and Netanyahu compromised it. At the end of the day, things will be clear and we will see what the results will be. »

Hamdan would not give further details about the deal, including how many hostages would be released, telling ABC News: “No details on the numbers, but it concerns what the media is talking about, which is d ‘around 50. But nothing is definitive.”

In the meantime, there will likely be three separate stages of approval for a deal to be reached on the Israeli side. The Israeli government will announce that an agreement has been reached and that it will have to be voted on. Then, the Israeli security cabinet will vote to approve the said agreement. Finally, Israeli law requires a 24-hour waiting period, during which time Israel’s Supreme Court may have to step in to defend the deal against anyone who tries to challenge it.

Sources told ABC News that a potential deal would involve the release of about 50 hostages, all women and children, in exchange for a five-day ceasefire, the release of dozens of women and Palestinian children in Israeli prisons and a large influx of Palestinians. humanitarian aid to Gaza, including fuel. The release of the hostages may take several days because they are not all being held together and some are being held by dissident groups, sources said.

-Ayat Al-Tawy, Nasser Atta, Victoria Beaulé, Matt Gutman, Jordana Miller, Kirit Radia and Morgan Winsor of ABC News

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