According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations, Qatari mediators have made urgent calls to attempt and negotiate the release of 36 Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons in exchange for the freedom of Israeli women and children who have been captured by the militant group and are being detained in Gaza.
The involvement of Qatar in mediation negotiations with Hamas and Israeli authorities, including discussions about a potential prisoner swap, was confirmed to Reuters by the foreign ministry of Qatar.
The ongoing negotiations, which Qatar has been conducting in coordination with the United States since Saturday night, are “moving positively” said the source, who has been briefed on them.
“We are in constant contact with all sides at the moment. Our priorities are to end the bloodshed, release the prisoners and make sure the conflict is contained with no regional spillover,” foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari told Reuters, without elaborating.
When asked to respond to the Reuters report, an Israeli official told Reuters only: “There are no negotiations under way.”
But there are no signs of breakthroughs as both sides dig in.
Qatar has been in touch with Hamas officials in Doha and Gaza, the source said, after the Islamist group assaulted Israel from Gaza on Saturday, storming into towns, killing more than 700 Israelis, and escaping with dozens of hostages.