The United States, Israel, and the Palestinian militant group Hamas have reportedly reached a tentative agreement to free dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza, in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting, according to the Washington Post, which cited people familiar with the deal.
“Under the terms of a detailed, six-page agreement, all parties to the conflict would freeze combat operations for at least five days while an initial 50 or more hostages are released in smaller batches every 24 hours,” the report said.
The Post also said that the pause, which is also expected to bring in significant humanitarian aid, would be monitored by aerial surveillance.
“It was not immediately clear how many of the 239 people believed to be in captivity in Gaza would be released under the deal,” the report added.
There was no immediate comment from the White House or the Israeli prime minister’s office on the Post report.
According to the newspaper, Arab and other diplomats said that the outline of the deal was put together during weeks of talks in Doha, capital of Qatar. Israel, US and Hamas, indirectly represented by Qatari mediators, were part of the talks. However, it was not clear till now that Israel would agree to a temporary pause in its strikes on Gaza, which have claimed more than 11,000 lives.
The hostage release could begin within the next several days, according to people familiar with its the agreement.
On October 7, Hamas had taken around 240 hostages as it launched an infiltration into southern Israel that resulted in 1,200 deaths.