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Qatar says Israel, Palestine talks ‘closest’ to deal

Negotiations between Hamas and the Israeli regime are at their “closest point” to a deal and have reached the “final stage”, mediator Qatar has said.

“We are at the closest point we ever had been in reaching an agreement,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed Al Ansari said, adding negotiations have reached a “critical and final stage”.

Qatar has helped broker talks aiming to free some of the 240 prisoners in return for a temporary ceasefire, a mediation effort that has so far led to the release of four prisoners.

“We are very optimistic, very hopeful,” Al Ansari told a briefing. “But we are also very keen for this mediation to succeed in reaching a humanitarian truce,” he said.

Tel Aviv was looking for negotiations under the continued aggression to break the will of the resistance, something which will never happen, according to the Hamas official.

He also said that the truce deal was agreed upon by all the resistance brigades in Gaza through phone calls and they always stand “united whether it is on the battlefield or in making political decisions.”

Two sources familiar with the truce talks told AFP that a tentative deal includes a five-day ceasefire on the ground and limits to Israeli aerial assaults over southern Gaza in return for the release of between 50 and 100 Israelis held captive by Hamas and Islamic Jihad resistance group.

Under the agreement, some 300 Palestinians are also expected to be freed from Israeli jails, among them women and children.

Israel waged the bloody war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas launched Operation Al-Aqsa Storm in the occupied territories.

Since the start of the aggression, the Tel Aviv regime has killed 13,300 Palestinians, including 5,600 children and 3,550 women, and injured more than 31,000 others.

It has also imposed a “complete siege” on the coastal sliver, cutting off fuel, electricity, food and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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