Paris talks raise Gaza ceasefire hopes

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Talks will be held in the French capital, Paris, later on Sunday with the aim of reaching a ceasefire agreement and the release of the remaining Israeli detainees in Gaza.

The New York Times reported on Saturday night that American negotiators have developed a draft agreement based on proposals from Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement, which will be discussed in Paris.

The report quoted US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying that negotiators "have cautious optimism about reaching a final agreement".

The New York Times, citing American government circles, said that the deal may include Hamas releasing more than 100 hostages in exchange for Israel halting its military operations in the Gaza Strip for approximately two months.

Compared to the seven-day ceasefire last November, during which Israeli detainees and Palestinian prisoners were exchanged, hostilities will now cease for a much longer period.

It is estimated that Hamas took about 240 Israelis to the Gaza Strip during its attack on Israel on October 7. An estimated 1,200 people were killed during the attack by Hamas, including about 400 Israeli soldiers.

Since then, Israel has launched a large-scale ground and air attack against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 26,000 Palestinians.

According to the New York Times report, in the first phase, the fighting must stop for 30 days, during which Hamas must release the women, the elderly, and the wounded hostages.

Meanwhile, the two sides must negotiate a second phase in which detained Israeli men and soldiers are released in exchange for a ceasefire for another 30 days.

US President Joe Biden sent CIA Director William Burns to Paris to participate in the talks with representatives of Israel, Egypt and Qatar. However, there are still unclear points, such as how many Palestinian prisoners Israel should release.

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