Mossad chief lands in Qatar for hostage talks as IDF ramps up Gaza operations

'Negotiations will be complex and will take several weeks,' sources say as army drops leaflets over Gaza City urging on civilians to evacuate immediately; 'Gaza City will be a dangerous combat zone'

The Israeli delegation for negotiation talks, led by Mossad Director David Barnea, landed in Qatar on Wednesday to continue discussions aimed at advancing a hostage deal.
The current focus is on solidifying and reinforcing the agreements between the parties, which were approved under the framework presented by U.S. President Joe Biden and endorsed by the United Nations Security Council.
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דדי ברנע ראש המוסד בטקס לציון יום השואה והגבורה
דדי ברנע ראש המוסד בטקס לציון יום השואה והגבורה
Mossad Director David Barnea
Additionally, the talks will attempt to narrow the gaps on issues still in dispute between Israel and Hamas. According to sources familiar with the content of the talks, "the negotiations will be complex and will take several weeks."
During the delegation’s visit to Qatar, which includes Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar and retired General Nitzan Alon, they will participate in a summit with CIA Director Bill Burns and Egyptian officials.
Egyptian sources claimed that "significant progress has been made, not seen in previous rounds of negotiations – on both the Hamas and Israeli sides." However, Israeli officials tempered this optimism Tuesday night, stating that many issues still need to be resolved, and it is therefore premature to raise the hopes of the hostage families.
Meanwhile, in a possible effort to pressure Hamas toward a deal, the IDF continues to exert military pressure on Hamas, distributing leaflets over Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip Wednesday morning, urging civilians in the area to leave immediately.
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הצבא מפזר כרוזים בעיר עזה
הצבא מפזר כרוזים בעיר עזה
Leaflets dropped by the IDF over Gaza City
"To everyone in Gaza City: Safe passages allow you to move quickly and without inspection from Gaza City to shelters in Deir al-Balah and al-Zawaida," the leaflets read.
"Omar al-Mukhtar Street and Tarek bin Ziyad Street are considered safe corridors to cross westward to al-Rashid Street and then south. Al-Wahda Street and Khalil al-Wazir Street are considered safe corridors to move eastward to the Zeitoun neighborhood and the city square, and from there to Salah al-Din to the south. Gaza City will be a dangerous combat zone."
There are currently thousands of civilians in the city, some of whom are displaced non-residents. They, along with local residents who have not yet evacuated, are urged to leave immediately.
On Monday, Ynet’s war correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai noted on Monday that increased offensive activity by the IDF was sensed across the northern Gaza Strip in order to ramp up direct military pressure on Hamas to become more flexible and advance in negotiations for the release of hostages.
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פעילות הכוחות ברצועת עזה
פעילות הכוחות ברצועת עזה
IDF troops in Shijaiyah
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told families of hostages, "The military pressure has created conditions that allow progress in the deal. The defense establishment knows how to both stop and resume fighting anywhere in Gaza, as needed. We must leverage the military pressure to drive the deal forward and not miss this opportunity."
In addition to the 98th Division's operations in Gaza City's Shijaiyah neighborhood in recent weeks, the IDF has also conducted raids on additional sites in several other neighborhoods in northern Gaza.
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