Report: Israeli officials believe Hamas may agree to release some hostages even without Israeli pledge to end war

Hostages' families and their supporters calling for an immediate deal to release their loved ones block Begin Street in Tel Aviv, May 2, 2024. (Yael Gadot/Pro-Democracy Movement)
Hostages' families and their supporters calling for an immediate deal to release their loved ones block Begin Street in Tel Aviv, May 2, 2024. (Yael Gadot/Pro-Democracy Movement)

Contradicting Hebrew media outlets that have said Israel is expecting Hamas to snub the latest hostage deal proposal, the Axios news site cites senior Israeli officials who say they see early indications that Hamas could agree to the first stage of the Egyptian-crafted proposal for a deal even without an Israeli commitment to end the war — but with fewer hostages to be freed in exchange for more Palestinian security prisoners.

“At the same time, they added, Hamas is expected to set stricter requirements that could lower the number of hostages it will agree to release on humanitarian grounds and increase the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released in return,” Axios reports.

Israel is seeking the release of 33 female, elderly and sick hostages during the six-week first stage of the truce, but Hamas may only agree to release 20 hostages in those categories, Axios says.

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