‘Hostages deal almost done,’ Qatar says

The prime minister of Qatar has said only “very minor” details remain on a deal between Israel and Hamas to secure the release of some of the 238 hostages held in Gaza. 

Qatar has acted as a key mediator between the two sides since the war began following the 7 October attacks. 

Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al Thani said confidence was growing that a deal could be completed. 

“The challenges facing the agreement are just practical and logistical,” he said during a joint press conference with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Doha. 

“The deal is going through ups and downs from time to time throughout the last few weeks, but… I’m now more confident that we are close enough to reach a deal that can bring the people safely back to their home.” 

Sky News international affairs editor Dominic Waghorn had this to say: 

“The plan is to release Israeli women and children in return for around 150 Palestinian women and children, as well as what could be a three-to-five-day ceasefire.”

The logistical issues include clarifying how many Israeli women and children are inside Gaza, he said. 

“The Israelis think there are 70 women and children in Gaza and Hamas think it’s more around 50 and they said they need more time to find out where they are.”

Israeli military officials are also weighing up whether a ceasefire is a good idea at the present time. 

“We’re clearly heading to some sort of a deal, but we aren’t there yet,” Waghorn said. 

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