US examines Hamas response to hostage deal, plans discussion with Israel

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, amid a rapid Middle East tour, announced that the U.S. is assessing Hamas’ reply to a hostage deal framework. Blinken intends to deliberate this with Israeli officials during his visit to Israel on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Blinken, speaking at a Doha press conference on Tuesday, Feb. 6, alongside Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, expressed cautious optimism.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we continue to believe that an agreement is possible, and indeed essential,” he stated.

Following Hamas’ announcement of its response to the ceasefire proposal, Sheikh Mohammed described the reaction as “positive,” but withheld specific details.

The proposed agreement, formulated over a week earlier by U.S. and Israeli intelligence leaders in collaboration with Egyptian and Qatari representatives, aims to secure the release of hostages held in Gaza by militants in exchange for a substantial cessation of hostilities.