(NewsNation) — During the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon at the White House, President Joe Biden said he thinks a deal with Hamas to release more than 200 hostages being held in Gaza may be imminent.
“I believe so,” Biden said when a reporter asked about a possible agreement.
According to a Washington Post report, the hostage release could begin within the next several days and could lead to the first sustained pause in the conflict.
Under the terms of a detailed, six-page agreement, “all parties to the conflict would freeze combat operations for at least five days” while an initial 50 or more of what are believed to be a total 239 hostages are “released in batches every 24 hours.”
Progress made towards deal to pause Israel-Hamas conflict, free hostages: Report
About 240 hostages were taken during Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 cross-border rampage into, which prompted Israel to invade the tiny Palestinian territory to wipe out the Islamist militant group.
About 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the Hamas assault, according to Israeli tallies, making Oct. 7 the deadliest day in Israel’s 75-year-old history. Since then, Gaza’s Hamas-run government said at least 13,000 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 5,500 children, by unrelenting Israeli bombardment.
During weeks of negotiations in Doha, Qatar, the tentative agreement emerged among Israel, the United States and Hamas, with Qatari mediators representing the latter indirectly. What wasn’t clear until now was that Israel would be willing to temporarily halt its offensive in Gaza, contingent on specific conditions.
The Post reported overhead surveillance would monitor ground movement to help police the pause, which also is intended to allow in a significant amount of humanitarian aid.
Reuters & NewsNation’s Tom Palmer contributed to this report.