Hamas says it accepts cease-fire proposal from Egyptian, Qatari mediators, as U.S. and Israel review details of plan

Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh speaks to press as he pays a visit to Palestinian photojournalist Ashraf Amra, a freelancer for Turkiye’s premier news agency Anadolu who was severely injured on his hand by Israeli army fire while covering a protest demonstration, at the Basaksehir Cam and Sakura City Hospital in Istanbul, Turkiye on September 22, 2023.

Cem Tekkesinoglu | Anadolu | Getty Images

Hamas said it told Egyptian and Qatari negotiators that it has approved a cease-fire proposal to halt the war in Gaza.

Israel is examining the proposal that Hamas approved and has not confirmed whether it would accept or reject it, an Israeli official told NBC News.

We are exploring every single thing that we hear and we are exhausting the potential about negotiations and bringing back the hostages and that is our main mission to bring them home as quickly as possible,” Israel Defense Forces Officer Daniel Hagari said at a press briefing following Hamas’ announcement. “But in parallel, we are continuing to act in an operational manner, in the Gaza Strip and we will continue to do so.”

The White House also said it is reviewing the proposal.

“Of course, we will be discussing it with Egypt with Qatar with Israel, the three countries with whom we have been working throughout this negotiation process,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said at a press briefing. “Obviously if those conversations have not already started they will be ongoing in the next several hours.”

The proposal would require a swap of 33 Palestinian prisoners for every Israeli hostage released, along with a permanent halt to Israel’s military operations and hostilities in Gaza, a senior Arab source familiar with the proposal told NBC News.

Hostage release negotiations intensified over the weekend, with facilitation from U.S. CIA Director William Burns, alongside mediators from Egypt and Qatar.

The negotiations came amid Israel’s ongoing threats to invade Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, which appeared imminent if a temporary cease-fire agreement was not reached.

U.S. officials have repeatedly warned Israel against an offensive in Rafah, where millions of civilians have taken refuge.

President Joe Biden reiterated that stance on a half-hour Monday call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Last week, the U.S. paused a shipment of weapons to Israel, including 2,000-pound bombs, as Israel continued to signal that a ground invasion of Rafah could be coming soon, two senior administration officials confirmed to NBC News.

On Monday, Israel ordered civilians in eastern Rafah to evacuate, adding to fears that Israel plans to invade the southern city.

“We cannot and we will not speak for IDF operations. but we’ve made clear our views about operations in Rafah that could potentially put more than a million innocent people at greater risk,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said at a White House press briefing on Monday.

Hundreds of Palestinians, including children, migrate from eastern neighborhoods after Israel warns them with pamphlets to evacuate Rafah, Gaza on May 06, 2024.

Ali Jadallah | Anadolu | Getty Images

NBC News previously reported that the deal would require Hamas to release 33 hostages in exchange for Israel agreeing to release Palestinian prisoners and pause military operations, which would ease the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

This is developing news. Check back for updates.

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