CIA, Mossad chiefs leave Qatar following Gaza truce talks: Source

AFP , Sunday 24 Mar 2024

US intelligence chief Bill Burns and his Israeli counterpart David Barnea left Qatar late Saturday following talks on a Gaza truce and prisoner-captive release deal, a source briefed on the talks told AFP.

Rafah
Palestinians check the rubble of a building destroyed in overnight Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 24, 2024. AFP

 

The CIA and Mossad chiefs "departed Doha to brief their respective teams back home on the latest round" of talks, the source said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions.

"The talks focused on details and a ratio for the exchange of hostages and prisoners", the knowledgeable source added, explaining that "technical teams remain in Doha".

US, Qatari and Egyptian mediators have been engaged in weeks of behind-the-scenes talks in efforts to secure a second truce in Israel's Gaza war and the release of captives in exchange for Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails.

Israel had said on Friday that the head of its spy agency was to return to Doha for his second trip in a week after talks were restarted following failed efforts to secure a truce before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began last week.

Israel's war on Gaza has claimed the lives of 32,226 Palestinians and left nearly 75,000 others wounded, with the majority being women and children, according to Gaza's health ministry.

Palestinian resistance fighters seized about 250 Israeli and foreign captives during an offensive into Israel on 7 October, but dozens were released during a week-long truce in November.

Hamas seeks to exchange the captives for thousands of Palestinian detainees held in Israeli jails, including many women and children unjustly detained without fair trial.

Israel believes about 130 remain in Gaza, including 33 who are presumed dead -- eight soldiers and 25 civilians.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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