Hamas's politburo leader Ismail Haniyeh on Tueday claimed that it militant group is "close to reaching a truce agreement" with Israel regarding the release of hostages captured on October 7 following the assault on the Jewish nation.

Haniyeh's remarks came after Hamas communicated its desire for the truce to mediators in Qatar. "The movement delivered its response to the brothers in Qatar and the mediators, and we are close to reaching a truce agreement," Haniyeh said.

The senior Hamas leader however, did not provide any other details on the said agreement. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), around 70 per cent of the militant group's top leadership has been killed in the military's ongoing ground offensive in Gaza.

Two American Hostages Released By Hamas Return To Israel
Two American Hostages Released By Hamas Return To IsraelIANS

But it is yet to be seen if Israel agrees for a truce, including the swapping of Palestinian prisoners. The Israel government is also under pressure from the families of the hostages. According to authorities, 237 people are held captive in Gaza, including Israelis and foreign nationals.

On Monday, the Israeli military spokesperson said that 40 of the hostages are children. So far, four civilian hostages have been released by Hamas; one Israeli soldier was rescued by the forces; and three bodies of hostages have reportedly been retrieved.

Israel flag
Representational Image: A supporter of Yisrael Beitenu party holds an Israeli flag as she stands on a hill overlooking the Gaza Strip in the southern town of Sderot February 23, 2015.Reuters/Amir Cohen

LeT designated a terrorist outfit by Israel

To symbolise the marking of the 15th year of commemoration of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Israel on Tuesday announced to list Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as a terror organisation.

Despite not being requested by the government of India to do so, the state of Israel has formally completed all necessary procedures and has satisfied all required checks and regulations to the result of introducing LeT into the Israeli list of illegal terror organisations, the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi said in a statement.

While Israel only lists terror organisations who are actively operating against it from within or around its borders, or in a similar manner to India -- those globally recogniszed by the UN Security Council (UNSC) or the US State Department; the Israeli ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs have jointly worked in the last few months towards an expediated and extraordinary listing of the LeT organisation on this date, to highlight the importance of a Unified Global Front in combating terrorism.

Its heinous actions on November 26, 2008, still reverberate in force, through all peace seeking nations and societies. "We stand with you united in the hope for a better peaceful future," the Israeli embassy added.

(With inputs from IANS)