November 28, 2023 | Flash Brief

CIA and Mossad Directors Seek to Expand Hostage Deal

November 28, 2023 | Flash Brief

CIA and Mossad Directors Seek to Expand Hostage Deal

Latest Developments

Mossad chief David Barnea and his CIA counterpart, William Burns, made an unannounced visit to Qatar on November 28 for talks on securing the release of more hostages seized by Hamas. They were scheduled to meet Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani. Israeli media said they planned to discuss the expansion of hostages freed to include men and soldiers. Doha mediated the original four-day hostage deal that began on November 24.

Expert Analysis

“Israel is publicly committed to resuming its operations to destroy Hamas after the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. Jerusalem, however, is trying to exhaust options for a peaceful return of as many hostages as possible — even if the ‘exchange rate’ for the men or soldiers among them is higher than that currently being paid, in freed Palestinian terrorists, for Israeli women and children.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Arab and European powers have echoed Hamas in making clear that they want the current humanitarian pause to the Gaza fighting to become a de facto cessation of hostilities. They are trying to force Israel into this with expanded hostage releases that could prove protracted. Will Washington play along, or will it stand by Israel in demanding that, humanitarian issues aside, Hamas terror infrastructure and governance must ultimately be dismantled?” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

Hamas May Free More Hostages

Hamas signaled a willingness on November 27 to release Israeli men it is holding in Gaza as a possible follow-up to the freeing of female and child hostages during a pause to the war. The remarks by Hamas official Khalil Al-Hayya came as Israel agreed to extend the four-day pause by another two days to allow for the recovery of more hostages from a group of approximately 100 women and children the Palestinian terrorist group seized on October 7.

“We hope the occupation [Israel] abides [by the agreement] in the next two days because we are seeking a new agreement, besides women and children, whereby other categories that we have that we can swap,” he told Al Jazeera. Asked if that could include captive Israeli soldiers as well as adult male civilians, he declined to answer.

However, the Israel Defense Forces said Hamas violated the pause in fighting on November 28 through the use of three explosive devices in two separate incidents. In one of the incidents, shots were also fired at Israeli soldiers, wounding several of them.

Israel May Release Additional Security Prisoners

In a possibly related development, Israel added 50 female inmates to the list of Palestinian security prisoners it has cleared for release in exchange for the Gaza hostages. The original list had 300 women and teenaged males, intended for a three-to-one exchange for 100 female and child hostages. Half of those exchanges took place between November 24 and 27.

Israel and Hamas Agree to Two-Day Extension of Pause in Fighting,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Releases Russian Hostage ‘In Appreciation’ of Moscow,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Releases Some Hostages, Roughly 200 Remain Unaccounted For,” FDD Flash Brief

Pause in Fighting Begins Between Israel and Hamas,” FDD Flash Brief


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