Source: Mossad and CIA chiefs meet with the Prime Minister of Qatar in Doha to discuss the hostage deal in Gaza

CIA Director William Burns testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on “Global Threats” on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, March 8, 2023. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert/File Photo Obtaining licensing rights

Doha, November 9 (Reuters) – The directors of the CIA and the Israeli Mossad met with the Qatari Prime Minister in Doha on Thursday to discuss the parameters of an agreement to release the hostages and stop the fighting between Hamas and Israel in Doha. A source familiar with the meeting told Reuters in the Gaza Strip.

The outcome of the talks was not clear, but the White House later announced that Israel had agreed to a temporary pause.

Qatar, where many Hamas political leaders are based, is leading the mediation between Hamas and Israeli officials to release more than 240 hostages. They were kidnapped by Hamas militants when they invaded Israel on October 7, and Israel says 1,400 people were killed.

Israel then launched sustained bombardments on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, and late last month began an armored invasion of the enclave, in which more than 10,000 people were killed, 40% of them children, according to Palestinian officials.

David Barnea, head of the Israeli Mossad intelligence service, CIA Director William Burns, and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani met after Qatari mediators met with officials from the Hamas political bureau on Wednesday evening and discussed the possible features of the deal.

An American official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Burns met with Barnea and the Qatari Prime Minister to discuss the possible release of the hostages by Hamas. The official declined to provide further details.

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The advantage of the meeting is to bring the three parties together at one table in real time to speed up the process, the source said.

The talks also included a discussion about allowing humanitarian fuel imports into Gaza, which Israel has so far rejected for fear they could be diverted to Hamas for combat purposes.

A source told Reuters on Wednesday that the talks included the release of between 10 and 15 hostages in exchange for a humanitarian truce for a day or two in the devastating war in Gaza.

On Thursday evening, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, headed to the United Arab Emirates, where he met with the President of the Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi.

The Qatari Prime Minister also traveled with the Emir.

Sheikh Mohammed wrote on social media that the two leaders met to reinforce calls from the UAE and Qatar for an immediate ceasefire, unimpeded humanitarian access, and the protection of all civilians.

He added, “The UAE and Qatar stand firmly in calling for the need to strengthen efforts to stop the escalation and secure a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region.”

(Additional reporting by Andrew Mills, Additional reporting by Jonathan Landay in Washington) Writing by Maha El Dahan and Alexander Cornwell. Editing by Toby Chopra, Mark Heinrich and Grant McCall

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