This exchange occurred on Friday, coinciding with the scheduled meeting in Europe between the CIA director and counterparts from Israel and Egypt, along with the Prime Minister of Qatar. The primary objective of this gathering is to negotiate a truce and secure the release of remaining hostages amidst the Israeli-Hamas conflict, according to US media sources.
Qatar's pivotal role in brokering a hostage release deal in November underscores its significance in the ongoing diplomatic efforts. President Biden also communicated with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt on the same day, as confirmed by White House national security spokesman John Kirby.
The November hostage swap transpired during a week-long truce, resulting in the release of approximately 100 individuals by Hamas in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.
The collaborative efforts of Qatar, Egypt, and the United States aim to establish a new truce, with Middle East envoy Brett McGurk, representing Biden, already present in the region for discussions.
Axios, a news outlet, reported that Israel proposed a two-month cessation of hostilities in Gaza to Hamas in exchange for the release of all hostages.
According to Israeli authorities, 132 hostages are still held in the Gaza Strip, with 28 of them presumed dead.
The conflict originated with Hamas' October 7 attack, leading to around 1,140 deaths in Israel, predominantly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.
In response to the attacks, Israel initiated a sustained military campaign, resulting in at least 26,083 casualties in the Palestinian territory, primarily affecting women and children, as reported by the Gaza health ministry.