Israel 'making progress' on return of Gaza hostages: Netanyahu

Sources say the tentative agreement would include an exchange of hostages and Palestinian prisoners along with a five-day truce

By AFP

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This picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing after an Israeli strike on northern Gaza on November 21. — AFP
This picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing after an Israeli strike on northern Gaza on November 21. — AFP

Published: Tue 21 Nov 2023, 6:11 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 Nov 2023, 6:12 PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that they "are making progress" on the return of hostages that Hamas seized during the October 7 attacks, after mediators said a truce deal was in sight.

"I hope there will be good news soon," Netanyahu told Israeli soldiers at a military base in the north of the country.


Shortly afterwards, his office released a statement saying that "in light of the developments regarding the release of our hostages", the war cabinet, security cabinet and the government will meet in succession on Tuesday evening.

The comments came after the leader of Hamas — which according to Israel killed around 1,200 people and seized about 240 hostages in the attacks — and key mediator Qatar both said a truce agreement with Israel was in sight.


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Sources from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said the tentative agreement would include an exchange of hostages and Palestinian prisoners along with a five-day truce.

The deal tabled is comprised of a complete ceasefire on the ground in the Gaza Strip and an end to Israeli air operations over the Palestinian territory, except in the north, where they would only halt for six hours daily, sources from the allied militant groups said.

In retaliation for the October 7 attacks, Israel launched a relentless bombing campaign and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

According to the Hamas government, the war has killed more than 13,300 people, thousands of them children.

Netanyahu made no reference to a ceasefire in his comments.

"We want to restore security, we will act and achieve the return of security to both the south and the north," he said.

"I want to salute you and tell you that we continue until victory," he told the troops in the north where Israel borders Lebanon.

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