Israel ‘hopeful’ significant number of hostages could be freed, UN ambassador says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israel is hopeful that a significant number of hostages could be released by Hamas “in coming days,” Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

“I’m hopeful we can have a deal in the coming days,” Herzog said.

Hamas took about 240 hostages during its deadly cross-border rampage into Israeli communities on Oct. 7, which prompted Israel to lay siege to Gaza and invade the Palestinian territory to eradicate its ruling Islamist group.

Reuters on Nov. 15 reported that Qatari mediators had been seeking a deal between Israel and Hamas to exchange 50 hostages in return for a three-day ceasefire, citing an official briefed on the talks. At the time, the official said general outlines had been agreed but Israel had still been negotiating details.

(Reporting by Jasper Ward; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Berkrot)