20231119 gaza
Palestinian man walks on the rubble of destroyed building after an Israeli airstrike, while others fleeing to the southern Gaza Strip along Salah al-Din Street, outskirts of Gaza City. Image Credit: AP

Washington: The United States said Saturday it was still working to secure a deal between Israel and Hamas after a reported tentative agreement to free women and children held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting.

"We have not reached a deal yet, but we continue to work hard to get to a deal," White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said on X, formerly Twitter, in response to the Washington Post reporting a deal had been agreed.

The Post said a detailed, six-page agreement could mean hostage releases begin within days and could also lead to the first sustained pause in the conflict in Gaza.

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said all parties would halt combat operations for at least five days while some hostages were released in batches, with overhead surveillance monitoring movement to police the pause.

But the White House National Security Council quickly responded with its message on X to deny any major breakthrough on Saturday evening.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in response to the October 7 attacks, which Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and saw about 240 people taken hostage.

The army's relentless air and ground campaign has since killed 12,300 people, more than 5,000 of them children, according to the Hamas government which has ruled Gaza since 2007.