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US and Israeli intelligence chiefs meet with Qatar’s PM to discuss Gaza truce

The heads of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Israel’s Mossad met Qatar’s prime minister in Doha on Tuesday to talk over a two-day truce extension between Israel and Hamas.

CIA Director William Burns, head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service David Barnea and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani met a day after Qatar announced a two-day extension of an initial four-day Gaza truce that was due to end overnight.

Burns was in Doha “for meetings on the Israel-Hamas conflict including discussions on hostages,” a US official reported on condition of anonymity, without elaborating.

The talks between the Palestinian militant group and Israel are led by Qatar, which houses several Hamas political leaders.

Officials discussed further steps of the truce agreement, including the release of hostages by Hamas. They also reviewed conditions for reaching a ceasefire that would last more than a few days.

The truce allowed residents of the Gaza Strip a respite from Israeli aerial strikes following the October 7 surprise attack by Hamas that killed some 1,200 people and took 240 hostages.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas. Gaza’s Health Ministry reports that Israeli bombardments have so far killed more than 15,000 people, with about 40 per cent of them being children.

In the first four days of the truce, Hamas fighters released 50 Israeli women and children taken hostage. In response, Israel released 150 women and teenagers detained for security reasons from its prisons.

As part of a two-day truce extension, Hamas agreed to release an additional 10 Israeli women and children each day. However, there is no indication yet that Hamas is prepared to release any Israeli men or soldiers among those captured.

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