KHAN YOUNIS (Reuters): Israel, the United States and Hamas have reached a tentative agreement to free dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting, the Washington Post reported.
However, both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. officials said no deal had been reached yet.
The hostage release could begin within the next several days, barring last-minute hitches, according to people familiar with the detailed, six-page agreement.
The report comes as Israel appears to be preparing to expand its offensive against Hamas militants to southern Gaza after air strikes killed dozens of Palestinians, including civilians reported to be sheltering at two schools.
Under the agreement, all parties would freeze combat operations for at least five days while 50 or more hostages are released in groups every 24 hours, the Post reported.
Hamas took about 240 hostages during its Oct. 7 rampage inside Israel that killed 1,200 people.