Doha- Talks on a truce in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of hostages taken by Hamas accelerated on Tuesday.
“The movement [Hamas] has delivered its response to the brothers of Qatar and mediators. We are approaching the conclusion of a truce agreement,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Tuesday in a brief message sent by his office to AFP.
According to sources within Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the second largest Palestinian militant group, both have accepted an agreement, the details of which are set to be announced by Qatar and other mediators.
The Israeli government did not immediately respond to these statements.
Qatar, Egypt and the United States are working on a deal to free hostages kidnapped in Israel by Hamas in exchange for a truce in the Gaza Strip.
“We have never been closer to an agreement,” said Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari on Tuesday, adding that negotiations were in their “final phase”.
“We are very optimistic and hopeful,” he told reporters at a press briefing in Doha. “We also hope that this mediation will result in a humanitarian truce.”
Earlier US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said a deal had “never been closer”.
But he warned: “There is still work. Nothing is done until everything is done.”
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