The intelligence chiefs of the United States and Israel are set to meet with Qatari officials to discuss a potential second hostage deal in Gaza, according to sources.
What Happened: William Burns, the Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and his Israeli counterpart David Barnea of the Mossad intelligence service will hold talks with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Europe over the weekend, Reuters reported. The discussions will also include Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.
The U.S. has been working to secure the release of over 100 hostages taken during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, which sparked the Gaza war. Despite significant differences in demands, the Biden administration has been actively involved in the negotiations.
Earlier, the U.S. and Israeli intelligence chiefs, along with Qatari and Egyptian officials, played a role in brokering a temporary truce in November, leading to the release of more than 100 hostages.
Why It Matters: The latest development comes amid ongoing ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas. The two sides are reportedly close to a month-long ceasefire agreement, with the potential for an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners. However, the two sides are still at odds over how to bring a permanent end to the Gaza war.
Netanyahu recently rejected the terms set by Hamas for a new hostage deal, asserting that there is no alternative to total victory in the conflict. He highlighted Hamas’s demand for the release of terrorists responsible for the deaths of around 1,200 people in October and the continued existence of Hamas, which Israel has vowed to dismantle.
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