Mossad chief expected in Doha on Sunday to resume ceasefire, hostage talks

Doha, March 16 (IANS) Mossad head David Barnea is expected to resume talks with Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Egyptian officials for a Gaza ceasefire and hostage deal in Doha on Sunday, a source told media.

The source said the discussions will cover the remaining gaps between Israel and Hamas on the ceasefire negotiations, including the number of Palestinian prisoners who could potentially be released in exchange for the remaining Israeli hostages as well as humanitarian aid to Gaza, The Times of Israel reported.

Mediators had hoped to secure a six-week truce before Ramadan started earlier this week, but Hamas refused any deal that wouldn’t lead to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, a demand Israel rejected.

It is believed that 130 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a week-long truce in late November, and four hostages were released prior to that, The Times of Israel reported.

Three hostages have been rescued by troops alive, and the bodies of 11 hostages have also been recovered, including three mistakenly killed by the military.

The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 32 of those still held hostage by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

One more person has been listed as missing since October 7, and their fate is still unknown.

Hamas has also been holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, since 2014 as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015 respectively.



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