Sources say negotiators nearing a deal for initial release of dozens of Hamas-held hostages

A recent draft of a possible agreement to secure the release of  captivates that Hamas is holding in Gaza proposes a four- to five-day pause in fighting for the initial release of 50 hostages, two sources familiar with the talks told CNN.

An agreement has yet to be struck, and the text of a deal has been traded back and forth for weeks. But negotiators hailing from various countries, including senior officials in US President Joe Biden’s administration, are expressing rare optimism about the progress.

While the talks could still break down and sticking points remain, an agreement may now be days away, sources say.

In a sign of how tenuous the talks have been, two sources told CNN Hamas has at least once abruptly put the negotiations on hold recently over various objections, one of which is Israel’s raid of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. But the discussions eventually picked back up.

There are still details to be worked out over aid, with Israel expressing concern that aid could go to help Hamas, rather than civilians. Hamas initially requested 500 trucks of aid per day, one of the sources stated. One source added that, while discussions are ongoing, a deal involving more than 200 trucks would be logistically challenging.

There are also questions about how to inspect the trucks and which points of entry to use. The aid would include fuel and cooking oil for bakeries, and continue to flow in after the initial pauses for hostages.

The most recent discussions involve plans for staggered releases of the hostages, with pauses potentially increasing after an initial release of a significant number of civilians, according to the sources.

Israel has presented a list of about 100 names of civilian hostages that it wants included in the agreement, one source told CNN. Israel has publicly demanded that all hostages be released.

Hamas has indicated it would be willing to release 50 hostages over a multi-day pause. More hostages, around 20 to 25, could be released after that, as the pauses are extended.

Hamas has announced it needs pauses in fighting to gather the hostages who are being held in different places and by different Hamas-allied groups in Gaza.

Al Mayadeen reported Sunday citing its source, the Israeli authorities delay the implementation of the ceasefire agreement with the Hamas movement.

“There have been no changes to the final version [of the ceasefire agreement], but it is the Israelis that delay its implementation,” the source stated.

According to the source, the negotiations between the sides of the conflict “have been stalling for over a week already”.

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