CIA Director Discusses New Hostage Deal in Gaza and Ceasefire with Israel and Qatar – Reports | Israel-Gaza war

Three informed sources told Reuters on Thursday that the CIA director and his Israeli counterpart will meet with Qatari officials in the coming days for talks on a possible second hostage deal in Gaza and a cessation of fighting.

An official familiar with the details of the meeting told the news agency that William Burns and the head of the Israeli Mossad intelligence service, David Barnea, will meet with the Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani in Europe at the end of this week.

A second source said that Egyptian Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel would also participate.

Reports in US media also said that Burns would travel to Europe to hold meetings with Israeli and Qatari officials about a ceasefire.

The Joe Biden administration is trying to facilitate the release of more than 100 remaining hostages taken during the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7, in which 1,200 people were killed, most of them civilians, and sparked the war in Gaza. However, there is still a large distance between the demands of the two sides.

The US and Israeli intelligence chiefs had previously met with Qatari and Egyptian officials, helping to broker a short-lived truce in November, which saw the release of more than 100 hostages.

John Kirby, White House national security spokesman, told reporters traveling with Biden on Air Force One that Burns “was involved in helping us with the hostage deal that was in place and trying to help us pursue another deal.”

The CIA, which has a policy of not disclosing the director's travel, declined to comment on the meeting, which was first reported by the CIA. Washington Post.

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Palestinian health officials say Israel, a US ally, has vowed to eliminate Hamas, unleashing a torrent of strikes that have flattened much of Gaza and killed at least 25,700 people.

A third source familiar with the talks said that Israel proposed stopping the fighting for 60 days, during which more than 100 hostages would be released in stages, starting with civilian women and children.

This will be followed by the release of civilians, female soldiers, and the remains of hostages who died after being kidnapped by Hamas, according to the source.

However, this plan contrasts sharply with Hamas's latest proposal, raising questions about whether the gap can be bridged. According to the source, Hamas last week proposed ending the war, providing international guarantees not to start again, and releasing all detainees held by Israel, including those who participated in its attack on October 7.

Israel consistently opposes a permanent ceasefire, a position supported by Washington. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel rejected Hamas' conditions.

After the talks scheduled for the weekend, the Qatari Foreign Minister is expected to arrive in Washington next week. He is scheduled to speak Monday at the Atlantic Council, according to the center's website.

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