Possible deal between Israel and Hamas could bring hostages home and prompt cease-fire, US official says

Negotiations are continuing for the release of Israeli hostages being held in Gaza, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Sunday.

"We're not considering diplomacy dead," Kirby told Margaret Brennan on CBS.

During Hamas' attack on Israel on Oct. 7, the deadliest assault against Jewish people since the Holocaust, about 1,200 people were killed and over 200 were forcibly taken into Gaza. Around 100 were released in November but deals to free the remaining hostages have stalled.

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Hamas recently rejected a proposal for the release of these hostages, according to the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29: National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby answers questions during the daily White House press briefing on January 29, 2024 in Washington, DC. Kirby answered a range of questions related primarily to a drone strike in Jordan yesterday that killed three U.S. service members, believed to have been carried out by an Iran-backed militia group. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 776098490 ORIG FILE ID: 1970762206

Still, Kirby said there is "a new deal on the table" negotiated by CIA Director William Burns.

"It is a good deal. It would get dozens of the most at risk – women, elderly, the wounded – out, get us a six-week cease-fire, so a little bit more calm, and get us an opportunity to get more humanitarian assistance in," Kirby said. "The Hamas leaders need to take that deal."

The U.S. is working with Egypt and Qatar to broker a deal between Israel and Hamas that would involve a six-week cease-fire in exchange for the release of 40 militant-held hostages and hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

President Joe Biden last week pushed Hamas to agree to his administration's latest cease-fire and hostage release proposal.

"[It] is now up to Hamas. They need to move on the proposal that's been made," Biden said, making remarks at a Rose Garden news conference ahead of a state dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Contributing: Kim Hjelmgaard, Francesca Chambers and Michael Collins USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Israel-Hamas war: Deal could bring hostages home, Biden official says