Reports indicate initial, unofficial talks for new hostage deal with Hamas

Some reports are claiming there are initial, informal negotiations over a potential renewed hostage deal with Hamas.

The London-based pan-Arab news site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed quotes unnamed Egyptian sources as saying Israel has asked Cairo to mediate a deal.

Haaretz cites Palestinian sources as saying Qatar and Egypt are holding informal, initial talks between Israel and Hamas to formulate an outline for a new deal.

Hamas has publicly been claiming no deal is possible while fighting is ongoing.

It is believed that 135 hostages remain in Gaza — at least 20 of whom are dead — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November during which Israel released 240 Palestinian security prisoners. Four hostages were released prior to that, and one was rescued alive by troops. The bodies of five hostages have also been recovered.

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