Hamas did not respond to the attempts that were made the last days The US and other mediators are trying to resume hostage negotiations, a source familiar with the negotiations told CNN, as the US and other mediators try to revive talks that would allow more hostages kidnapped on October 7 to be released.
Qatar – which continues to play the role of interlocutor – It was transferred to Hamas New ideas to try to get more hostages out of Gaza, including a possible deal that would include the release of not only the remaining female hostages but also the men, according to a source familiar with the effort and a senior U.S. official.
“This is not an active negotiation, but a real exploration of ideas about how to move forward on this matter,” the senior US official declared.
However, Hamas did not respond to the calls, according to the source.
Qatar speaks with Hamas decision-makers in Gaza, who relay messages to the group’s leaders in Gaza, who are trying hard to avoid detection by Israel. American officials had claimed that obtaining answers from Hamas was an extremely cumbersome process during the first round of negotiations that led to the release of a number of hostages. It may now be more difficult for Hamas leaders to participate in the talks, given Israel’s interest in continuing these talks.
At the same time, Israel, which resumed its military operation against Hamas after a seven-day truce, believes that its targeted attack on southern Gaza – and Khan Yunis in particular – should put additional pressure on Hamas that may be useful for the release of prisoners. More hostages, according to sources. Some American officials agree that military pressure may have an impact in finally bringing Hamas back to the negotiating table.
“Maybe it is time for Hamas to reconsider returning to the table in a real way,” the senior US official said.
Formal negotiations have not resumed since the collapse of hostage talks in Doha, the capital of Qatar, earlier this month. However, Israel, the United States and Qatar have continued to discuss ways to try to resume talks, according to multiple sources, and more than 100 hostages are believed to still be held in Gaza. “We never stopped,” a source familiar with the talks said.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office believes there are 135 hostages still in Gaza, 116 of whom are alive.
The sources said that Israel’s view that Hamas must release the remaining hostages first has not changed. Hamas has refused to do so, arguing that the remaining women are considered soldiers – a claim Israel rejects.
The White House announced that the whereabouts of eight Americans, seven men and one woman, remains unknown.
The lack of clear progress in freeing the hostages comes as President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet in person for the first time with some of the families of the American hostages on Wednesday at the White House.
Meanwhile, Israel informed the United States that it had begun a “careful test” of flooding some Hamas tunnels with seawater “on a limited basis” to see if that damaged the movement’s broader tunnel network. The Israelis have assured their American counterparts that they only do this in tunnels where they do not believe there are hostages.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Biden said he had heard “claims” that there were currently no hostages in those tunnels, but that his administration had been unable to confirm that beyond a reasonable doubt: “I don’t know for a fact,” he claimed.
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