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CIA chief to meet with Israeli and Qatari officials for hostage deal talk

CIA chief to meet with Israeli and Qatari officials for hostage deal talk Photo: Head of the CIA, William Burns (Getty Images)

The head of the CIA, William Burns, will meet in Warsaw with the Prime Minister of Qatar, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and the head of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad to discuss a potential new deal for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas, reports Reuters.

According to American sources, the meeting is set to take place today, on December 18.

On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to confirm that new negotiations for the return of hostages held by Hamas are underway. This followed reports that the head of Israeli intelligence met with the Prime Minister of Qatar, a mediating country in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

An informed source stated that Mossad chief David Barnea met with Al Thani in Europe on Friday evening, December 15.

The Minister-Coordinator of Special Services of Poland mentioned that he met with Burns on Monday but did not mention his other activities in Warsaw.

"On Monday, December 18, 2023, my guest was William Burns, Director of the CIA. We discussed current Polish-American allied cooperation in the area of ​​security, particularly in the context of the war in Ukraine," said Tomasz Siemoniak.

He also mentioned that he discussed with the head of the CIA the challenges for NATO ahead of the upcoming summit in Washington in 2024.

"We emphasized our common will to maintain the closest possible cooperation between our countries' secret services," he added.

Israel-Hamas war

In early October, Hamas militants invaded Israel. Shortly thereafter, the Israeli army initiated Operation Iron Swords. On November 24, a temporary ceasefire between Tel Aviv and the militants began for the release of prisoners.

By December 1, hostilities were resumed, as Israel claims, due to the violation of the ceasefire terms by Hamas.

It was previously reported that Israel and Hamas are open to restoring a ceasefire and releasing hostages, although there are differences in how this will be implemented.