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Hamas Says it Doesn’t Have 40 Living Hostages Required for Ceasefire Deal

Eight Americans were also kidnapped, but at least two of them have been confirmed dead.

Israel agreed to a ceasefire deal that would see the release of 40 women, elderly and sick hostages, but Hamas reportedly told negotiators it is unable to identify 40 living captives in that category who were kidnapped from Israel more than 6 months ago.

In exchange, Israel would have released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and both Israel and Gaza would have had a six to eight week cease-fire, but Hamas told Egypt and Qatar, international mediators in the negotiations, that it does not have 40 hostages who would be in the category to release, according to multiple reports.

Of the more than 240 people who were abducted on Oct. 7, 2023, when Hamas invaded Israel and killed about 1,200 people, about 130 people, including dual nationals, remain captive, according to Israel. However, Hamas has not provided a list of hostages who may be alive, and Israel says more than 30 of the hostages are presumed dead.

Eight Americans were also kidnapped, but at least two of them have been confirmed dead.

CIA Director Bill Burns laid out the proposal over the weekend in Cairo, and it was expected to be the first ceasefire phase, with later pauses that would result in the release of military-age men, including Israel Defense Forces soldiers.

Two children still remain captive, including Kfir Bibas, who was 9 months old at the time of his kidnapping, and his brother, Ariel Bibas, who was 4 years old when he was kidnapped. Both of their parents, Shiri Bibas and Yarden Bibas, also remain captive. After they were not released during the first ceasefire round, Hamas claimed in November that the mother and her two sons were killed during Israel's bombing of the Gaza Strip. This has not been confirmed by external sources.

Further complicating matters, other terrorist groups in Gaza, such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and even Palestinian civilians, are believed to be holding or to have held captives from Israel.

At least 19 women are being held hostage as well, and there are concerns that many of them are pregnant, given the reports of sexual abuse both in Gaza and during the Oct. 7, 2021, attack.

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