Talks to free some of the 230 hostages held by Hamas stalled Friday after the group demanded that Israel allow fuel deliveries to Gaza and Hamas declined to guarantee the release of a large number of foreign captives, a former U.S. official with knowledge of the negotiations said.
“Hamas has been insistent on receiving fuel,” said the former U.S. official, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to talk publicly. “The Israel and U.S. side, plus other countries, want a large batch of their citizens released.”
The former U.S. official, an Israeli official and a diplomat with knowledge of the talks said discussions broke down before Israel launched the second phase of its offensive Friday evening and sent ground troops into Gaza.
“Talks were going very well on Thursday, and negotiators were hopeful a deal could be reached over the weekend,” said the diplomat with knowledge of the talks, who also was not authorized to talk publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But differences emerged early Friday, which led to talks stalling.”
The negotiations to free 230 hostages, including children and the elderly, have been ongoing since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist arrack killed more than 1,000 Israeli civilians. Its hostages are believed to include people with passports from as many as 25 foreign countries, including an estimated 54 Thais, 15 Argentines, 12 Americans, 12 Germans, six French and six Russians.
Israel expanded its operations in Gaza Saturday, sending tanks and infantry.
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