Israel’s Mossad chief to discuss Gaza truce in Qatar

Israel’s intelligence chief, Qatar’s premier and Egyptian officials are expected to hold talks in Doha Monday on a potential Gaza truce and hostage exchange deal, a source with knowledge of the talks said.

The meeting between Mossad chief David Barnea, Qatar PM Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and Egyptian envoys “is expected to take place today,” the source said on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the talks.

The talks in the Qatari capital are the first after weeks of intense negotiations involving Qatari, US and Egyptian mediators failed to secure a truce between Israel and Hamas for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began last week.

The mediated talks aim to secure a six-week Gaza truce under which the Palestinian militants would free 40 hostages, an Israeli official said.

This stage of the negotiations could take at least two weeks, the official estimated, citing difficulties that Hamas’ foreign delegates may have in communicating with the group in the besieged enclave after more than five months of war.

The war began when Hamas launched an unprecedented attack from Gaza on October 7 that left about 1,160 dead in Israel, mostly civilians.

Palestinian militants seized about 250 Israeli and foreign hostages during the October 7 attack, but dozens were released during a week-long truce in November.

Israel believes about 130 remain in Gaza, including 33 — eight soldiers and 25 civilians — who are presumed dead.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel has carried out a relentless bombardment and ground offensive that the health ministry in the Palestinian territory says have killed at least 31,726 people, most of them women and children.

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