Potential Gaza Hostage Deal to Include 80 Women and Children, Official Says

by Marwa Mostafa

U.S. official confirms discussions are underway for a potential deal involving the release of Palestinian women and youths from Israeli prisons; however, Egyptian officials claim battles near Gaza’s Shifa Hospital hamper talks

After a senior Israeli official approved the framework for a potential hostage release deal, a government source in the Biden administration stated Sunday that the release of 80 women and children held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip is imminent. 

However, the U.S. official clarified that there is no certainty that a deal will be reached. Hours after NBC’s report, a separate article in The Wall Street Journal cited two senior Egyptian officials who stated that talks on the hostage deal were suspended due to the current clashes near hospitals in Gaza. According to Egyptian sources, the main reason for the suspension of discussions is the battles near Shifa Hospital, which, according to Israel, is used for a Hamas base and has several tunnels situated beneath it.

Senior officials in Cairo, speaking to The Wall Street Journal, noted that high-ranking members of Hamas have conveyed to both Egypt and Qatar—the two primary mediators in indirect talks between the terror organization and Israel—that the conduct of the IDF in recent battles seemingly indicates Israel is not interested in any deal. The American newspaper reports that negotiations for the release of hostages have been halted twice in the past.

Before the apparent suspension of talks, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, the outlined framework resembled that written by NBC: the release of up to 100 women and children from captivity in Gaza in exchange for Israel releasing approximately 100 women and minors from Israeli prisons. Additionally, a limited amount of fuel would be transferred to hospitals in the Gaza Strip, and there would be humanitarian gestures amid the war.

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