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Hamas, Israel consider new Gaza truce parameters including release of men - source

Published 11/28/2023, 08:05 AM
Updated 11/29/2023, 05:15 AM

By Andrew Mills and Doina Chiacu

DOHA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Israel and Hamas were on Wednesday considering the parameters of a potential new phase of the Gaza truce deal that includes Hamas releasing hostages who are men or military personnel, not only women and children, a source briefed on the negotiations said.

The leaders of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Israel's Mossad met Qatar's prime minister in Doha on Tuesday to discuss the possible new phase and what might be needed to reach a ceasefire lasting more than a handful of days, the source told Reuters.

Qatari negotiators had met Hamas officials ahead of the meeting to gauge their willingness to agree to the new parameters.

The outcome of the discussion between Qatar and Hamas was unclear.

CIA Director William Burns was in Doha "for meetings on the Israel-Hamas conflict including discussions on hostages", a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity. The official did not elaborate.

Burns, David Barnea, head of Israel's Mossad intelligence service, and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani met along with Egyptian officials one day after Qatar announced the two-day extension of an original four-day truce deal in Gaza that had been due to expire overnight Monday.

Qatar, where several political leaders of Hamas are based, has been leading negotiations between the Palestinian militant group and Israel.

The truce has brought the first respite to the Gaza Strip in seven weeks during which Israel bombed the territory heavily in response to a violent rampage on Oct. 7 by Hamas gunmen who killed around 1,200 people and took 240 captives.

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Israel has sworn to annihilate Hamas, which rules Gaza. Health authorities in Gaza say Israel's bombardment of the tiny, densely populated territory has so far killed more than 15,000 people, around 40% of them children.

Barnea and Burns were previously in Qatar to meet Sheikh Mohammed on Nov 9.

During the first four days of the truce, Hamas fighters released 50 Israeli women and children who had been taken hostage. In return, Israel released 150 security detainees from its jails, all women and teenagers.

As part of the two-day truce extension, Hamas has agreed to release an additional 10 Israeli women and children each day.

So far, there has been no indication that Hamas is willing to release any Israeli men or military personnel among those taken captive.

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