Scoop: Mossad chief visits Qatar to discuss final details of hostage deal
Mossad director David Barnea arrived in Doha on Wednesday to meet with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and other officials to discuss the final details of the deal for Hamas to release hostages in return for a pause in the fighting in Gaza, according to two sources with knowledge of the issue.
Why it matters: Barnea was the lead negotiator on the Israeli side. The Israeli foreign intelligence chief's trip to Qatar signals there are still some details to finalize in the deal like how it will be implemented on the ground and the exact time the pause in the fighting will begin.
- Israeli and U.S. officials warn that the next 24 hours will be highly sensitive and stress that a lot can still go wrong.
Driving the news: Hamas official Mussa Abu Marzouk said on Wednesday that the ceasefire will begin on Thursday at 10 am local time.
- One Israeli official confirmed the timing, but a second Israeli official said the final time for the beginning of the pause in the fighting will be determined on Wednesday night.
- In the first phase of the two-phase deal, Hamas is expected to free at least 50 Israeli women and children held in Gaza, while Israel is expected to release about 150 Palestinian prisoners, mostly women and children over a four-day pause.
- "The pause will begin when the first child is back in Israel," one of the officials said.
- The Israeli Prime Minister's Office declined to comment.