Israel, Hamas Reportedly Near Deal to Swap Captives

Israeli and Hamas officials have been in talks to return two Israeli captives and the bodies of two IDF soldiers. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ leader, said he was optimistic Hamas could reach a prisoner-swap deal with Israel. The two prisoners are Israeli civilians Avera Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are believed to have been detained and held by Hamas after entering the Gaza Strip of their own accord in 2014-2015. The two bodies are those of two IDF soldiers, Sergeant First Class Oron Shaul and Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who were killed in action during the 2014 Gaza war. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

The negotiations picked up steam later in the week as Israel’s chief negotiator updated families on the progress of the talks. Goldin’s family in a statement hinted that a deal may be in the works and that the chance should not be passed up. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

A senior Hamas official, Husam Badran, stated the group wanted to make “a significant achievement” with the deal, but declined to provide details. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…