(Dan Tri) – The Director of the Israeli Intelligence Agency conducted a series of meetings in Qatar on the release of hostages held by Hamas, amid news that Israel and Hamas are approaching an agreement to ensure the release of some hostages.
In a statement, Israeli Ambassador to Russia Alexander Ben Zvi emphasized that Director of the Israeli Intelligence Agency (Mossad) David Barnea held a series of meetings in Qatar on the issue of releasing hostages held by Hamas.
“Yes, of course. The head of Mossad was there,” Mr. Ben Zvi said when asked about Israel’s negotiations on the child issue in Qatar. The Israeli Ambassador explained that this is one of the two topics of most concern. “Our main problem is to release the hostages and destroy Hamas.”
According to the Israeli diplomat, the government of this country usually does not have direct contact with Hamas. “Some contacts have taken place in Qatar, but I have no further information,” he added.
Mr. Ben Zvi said that a 5-day truce and hostage exchange scenario is one of the possible options. “Until we see something concrete, it’s too early to talk about it. So let’s wait for the outcome of the negotiations.”
Before that, newspaper Financial Times On November 9, it was reported that Mr. Barnea met with Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) William Burns in Qatar. They discussed with Qatari authorities the conditions for releasing 10-12 hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Afterward, Reuters On November 15, citing an anonymous official, Hamas agreed on the general terms of the agreement with Israel, which would release about 50 hostages in exchange for a 3-day ceasefire in Gaza.
In addition, according to this agency, Tel Aviv must release a number of Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli prisons and increase humanitarian support to this area. However, Israel has not yet agreed to the deal and the details are still being discussed, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Then, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth November 16 reported that the head of Mossad may visit Qatar again in the next few days to discuss the final scenario of the agreement.
The above information was revealed as US officials said that Israel and Hamas were getting closer to an agreement ensuring the release of some hostages. US President Joe Biden on November 20 believed that the two were about to reach an agreement. “We’re closer together than we’ve ever been,” White House spokesman John Kirby said of the hostage agreement.
Hamas captured about 240 hostages in an attack on Israel on October 7. Mirjana Spoljaric, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar on October 20 to “promote humanitarian issues” related to the conflict. Ms. Spoljaric also met privately with Qatari authorities.
On ABC’s “This Week” program on November 19, Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog expressed hope to reach an agreement “in the coming days”, while Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al- Thani says the remaining sticking points are minimal.
Newspaper Washington Post On November 18, it was reported that the two sides had reached an agreement, but the White House and Israel denied that.