William Burns CIA chief US
William Burns Image Credit: AFP

Washington: The director of the CIA will meet in Europe with his Israeli and Egyptian counterparts plus the Qatari prime minister, aiming to negotiate a truce and hostage release in the Israeli-Hamas war, US media reported Thursday.

William Burns will make the trip in the next few days, according to The Washington Post and Axios, which did not give a location for the talks.

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Both the US intelligence agency and White House declined to confirm the travel.

However White House National Security spokesman John Kirby recalled that Burns had already been involved in negotiations over a prior hostage agreement at the end of November and indicated that he was participating in efforts for another one.

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The November hostage-prisoner swap occurred during a week-long truce under which some 100 people were freed by Hamas in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

Qatar, Egypt and the United States are attempting to negotiate a new truce, and US President Joe Biden's Middle East envoy Brett McGurk is already in the region for talks.

According to Axios, Israel has offered Hamas a two-month pause in fighting in Gaza in exchange for the release of all hostages.

According to Israeli authorities, 132 hostages are still being held in the Gaza Strip, 28 of whom are presumed dead.

The war began when Hamas launched its October 7 attack, which resulted in about 1,140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

Vowing to crush Hamas, Israel launched a relentless military campaign that has killed at least 25,900 people in the Palestinian territory, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.