A recent draft of a possible deal to secure the release of hostages that Hamas is holding in Gaza proposes a four- to five-day pause in fighting for the initial release of 50 hostages, two sources familiar with the talks told CNN.
An agreement has yet to be struck and the text of a deal has been traded back and forth for weeks. But negotiators from various countries, including senior Biden administration officials, are expressing rare optimism about the progress. Gaps in some of the major sticking points have begun to close, sources say, and while the talks could still break down, an agreement may now be days away.
“We think that we are closer than we have been perhaps at any point since these negotiations began weeks ago,” deputy national security adviser Jon Finer told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on Sunday. Finer did not get into details of the talks and stressed that there is no final deal in place.
In a sign of how tenuous the talks have been, two sources told CNN that in recent days, Hamas had put the negotiations on hold at least once. One of the many issues that the terrorist group raised, and that appeared to have prompted Hamas abruptly going dark amid the talks, was Israel’s raid of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. But the discussions eventually picked back up.