(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned his war cabinet on Tuesday amid growing signs of an imminent deal on the release of hostages who were taken by Hamas to the Gaza Strip more than six weeks ago.
"We are making progress. I don't think it's worth saying too much, not at even this moment, but I hope there will be good news soon," Netanyahu told reservists without providing further details.
His office said that "in light of developments in the matter of the release of our hostages," he would convene his war cabinet at 6pm(1600 GMT) followed by meetings of his wider security cabinet and the full cabinet.
In a sign it was expecting hostages to return soon, Netanyahu's office said it was convening the directors-general of all the relevant government ministries to prepare for treatment and aid, in light of the latest developments.
A source familiar with the negotiations said Hamas would free 50 women and children, including some foreigners, while Israel releases 150 Palestinian prisoners, mostly women and minors, during a temporary four-day ceasefire.
A US official briefed on the discussions facilitated by Qatar said the deal would include 50 hostages, mostly women and children, in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners and a pause in the fighting of four or five days.
There is a tentative deal but it's not final until everything is agreed upon, the US official said.
"We believe we are very, very close to having a deal," the official told Reuters. "There is still a lot of work to be done, still approval that has to be achieved, but we believe we are very close."
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