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Deal inches closer on freeing hostages in Gaza: ‘Very sensitive stage,’ WH official says

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Hostage negotiations to free many of the 200-plus people believed to be held by extremists in Gaza have “reached a very sensitive stage” as some of the key areas of disagreement preventing a deal have “narrowed,” suggesting a breakthrough could be imminent but not certain, a top White House official said Sunday.

“These talks have clearly reached a very sensitive stage,” the deputy national security adviser, Jon Finer, told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz. “We’re following this minute by minute, hour by hour, and have been over a number of weeks. And this is an incredibly high priority for all of us in this administration up to and including, certainly, the president.”

Amid new reporting that an agreement is on the verge of being struck for dozens of captives to be released in exchange for a pause in the fighting sparked by Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel, Finer said progress was being made but cautioned that the work was not done.

“[S]ome of the gaps have now narrowed. Some of the issues that were at odds have now been closed out. But we are not finished — there is not yet a deal in place. And I think it would be premature to conclude that this is inevitable given how close we have come in the past,” he said.

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