Israeli officials have said that 239 hostages were taken by Palestinian groups in the Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7. Israel has said that those hostages are mostly being held in a network of tunnels underneath Gaza, complicating efforts to fight Hamas.
Under the deal, Hamas would initially release 50 or more hostages, focusing on women and children, according to The Post’s reporting. More hostages could then be released in smaller batches as the deal progresses.
The hope is that if the template for the release of hostages works, it could be used to release more hostages in future deals, with Palestinian prisoners held in Israel also released. A Middle Eastern diplomat familiar with the matter, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe a deal not publicly announced yet, said that the agreement would likely work on a 3-to-1 ratio, with three Palestinians released for every Israeli hostage.
The deal covers Israeli citizens, including dual nationals. Hamas has said that it will not release Israeli soldiers, the Middle Eastern diplomat said.
Until now, only four hostages have been freed by Hamas since the conflict began, including an American mother and daughter. During the operation to free those U.S. citizens, Israel stopped firing on a specific area of Gaza for several hours, and the International Committee of the Red Cross took custody of the hostages and brought them across the border to Israel.