Israel surrounds Jabalia as negotiations for temporary truce progress

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has indicated that the agreement for a truce with Israel “is close.” Another senior official of the group has told Al Jazeera that the negotiations are discussing a truce of several days, as well as the release of some hostages taken by Hamas, the release of Palestinian prisoners and the entry of aid into Gaza.

Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Sunday that the major obstacles in the negotiations have been overcome and that those that remain “are more logistical and practical challenges.” Qatar is playing the role of mediator between the parties. “I am now more confident that we are close enough to reaching an agreement. There is good progress especially in the last few days.”

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mirjana Spoljaric, traveled to Qatar on Monday to “advance humanitarian issues related to the armed conflict.” The president has met with Haniyeh and Qatari authorities. The ICRC does not participate in the negotiations for the release of hostages, but plays the role of facilitator, as has already happened on two occasions in which people kidnapped by Hamas have been released thanks to the mediation of Qatar.

The White House also indicated this Monday that it believes that the negotiations are in their final phase. “Sensitive negotiations like this can fall apart at the last minute. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” said Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer.

For its part, the AFP Agency has reported according to two close sources that the possible agreement includes a five-day truce, the release of up to 100 civilian hostages kidnapped by Hamas and the release of around 300 Palestinians from Israeli prisons. A source involved in the negotiations has told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the agreement is imminent and that Qatar will publish the details this Tuesday.

On a military level, the Israeli army completed the mission of surrounding Jabalia tonight and “is prepared to continue the attack,” the armed forces have said. Troops have also attacked around 250 different targets in the Strip in the last 24 hours.

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