Gaza conflict: Netanyahu hints at 'progress' on hostages
Israel's PM suggested there may be "good news soon" on a hostage release deal, which the US said could be close. The Hamas militant group is negotiating via Qatari mediators on a temporary truce.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday addressed the Qatar-mediated negotiations, following an array of comments from Palestinians, Qataris and US officials involved in the talks raising hopes that an accord might be close.
"We are making progress," Netanyahu told Israeli reservists, according to a statement published by his office. "I don't think it's worth saying too much, not even at this moment, but I hope there will be good news soon."
Earlier comments from other parties to the negotiations had been similarly optimistic, albeit without anybody claiming that a deal was done.
Netanyahu's office also said that "in light of developments in the matter of the release of our hostages," the prime minister would convene his war cabinet at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT/UTC), his broader security cabinet an hour later, and his entire cabinet an hour after that.
In Qatar, which is mediating the talks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari told reporters on Tuesday that "We are at the closest point we ever had been in reaching an agreement," adding that "we're very optimistic, very hopeful."