Spy chiefs of the United States and Israel are discussing the “next phase” of the current ceasefire between Tel Aviv and the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas in Qatar, as the truce in the besieged Gaza Strip has already been extended for a brief period.
The leaders of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli Mossad spy agency arrived in the Qatari capital of Doha to discuss the “next phase” of the current truce in the war-torn Palestinian enclave, AFP cited an unnamed source briefed on the visit as saying on Tuesday.
“The director of the CIA and the director of the Israeli National Intelligence Agency are in Doha to meet with the Qatari prime minister,” the source said.
The four-day Qatari-brokered ceasefire between Tel Aviv and Hamas went into effect on Friday and was extended for two more days on Monday.
The US and Israeli spy chiefs were scheduled to meet Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the source further said, adding that Egyptian officials were also taking part in the meeting.
The discussions aim “to build on the progress of the extended humanitarian pause agreement and to initiate further discussions about the next phase of a potential deal,” the source went on to say.
Over the initial four-day pause, 50 Israeli hostages were freed in return for 150 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
Separately on Tuesday, Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesman, whose country has been engaged in intense negotiation, said the mediator would use the extension to work toward what he called a “sustainable truce” between the two sides.
“Our main focus right now, and our hope, is to reach a sustainable truce that will lead to further negotiations and eventually to an end ... to this war,” said Majed Al Ansari at a press conference.
“However, we are working with what we have. And what we have right now is the provision to the agreement that allows us to extend days as long as Hamas is able to guarantee the release of at least 10 hostages,” he added, confirming that the ceasefire would continue with the release of 20 further hostages.
“We are hopeful that in the next 48 hours, we will be getting more information from Hamas regarding the rest of the hostages,” Al Ansari further said.
He acknowledged that there were “minimal breaches” in the ceasefire in recent days, but stressed that they could not harm “the essence of the agreement.”
The deal forced the Israeli regime to halt its aggression on Gaza which had lasted for 49 days and had claimed the lives of over 15,000 people.
It also allowed Hamas to exchange Israeli captives it took during a blitz into occupied Palestine in early October with Palestinians held by Israel.
The conflict in Gaza began on October 7 after an unprecedented operation by Hamas against Israel led to some 1,400 deaths among Israeli settlers and military forces.
The Israeli regime then used the operation as a pretext to launch a relentless military campaign against Gaza.
Many countries around the world are pressing for a permanent end to the Israeli regime’s carnage against the civilian population in Gaza.
Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses: