Mediated Israel-Hamas talks on hostage deal expected next week, source says

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Mediated negotiations between Israel and Hamas to reach a deal to free Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip are due to restart next week, an official with knowledge of the matter said on Saturday.

The decision to restart the talks, said the source, who declined to be identified by name or nationality given the sensitivity of the issue, was taken after the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency met the head of the CIA and the prime minister of Qatar, which has been a mediator.

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“At the end of the meeting, it was decided that in the coming week negotiations will open based on new proposals led by the mediators, Egypt and Qatar and with active US involvement,” the source said.

Efforts to achieve the release of more than 120 hostages abducted during Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel within the framework of a ceasefire deal have so far fallen short.

Both sides have blamed the other for the deadlock. Israel has said it cannot accept Hamas’ demand to end the war, while the Palestinians want Palestinian prisoners to be released by Israel.

Israel has said it wants to eliminate Hamas, which governs Gaza and is sworn to Israel’s destruction. Sparked by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, the war has raged for more than seven months, devastating much of Gaza.

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