'Very minor' details remain to secure Israel-Hamas hostage deal, Qatar says

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Qatar's prime minister has said the main sticking points blocking a deal for the release of dozens of the 238 hostages taken by Palestinian group Hamas in their October 7 attack on Israel were now "very minor".

It followed a report in the Washington Post published on Saturday that said a deal for the release of 50 hostages had been agreed. The White House denied an agreement was reached.

Reuters said on November 15 that Qatari mediators had been seeking a deal between Israel and Hamas to exchange 50 hostages in return for a three-day ceasefire, citing an official briefed on the talks.

At the time, the official said general outlines had been agreed but Israel had still been negotiating details.

"The challenges facing the agreement are just practical and logistical," Qatari prime minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said at a joint press conference with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Doha.

"The deal is going through ups and downs from time to time throughout the last few weeks.

"But I think that you know I'm now more confident that we are close enough to reach a deal that can bring the people safely back to their home."

The Washington Post, citing people familiar with the deal, reported that Israel, the United States and Hamas militants had reached a tentative agreement to free dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said no deal had been reached yet.

"The efforts are still ongoing ... and we communicate with both parties, whether it's with the Israelis or with Hamas, and we see there is a good progress especially happened in the last few days," said Sheikh Mohammed.