The Israeli Cabinet on Tuesday approved a deal that would allow the release of some hostages from Gaza.
The deal will see dozens of Israeli hostages be freed in exchange for the release of Palestinians held in prisons in Israel and a four-day pause in fighting.
The agreement marks the biggest diplomatic breakthrough and the pause in fighting since the war began on October 7. As part of the deal, Hamas will release 50 Israeli women and children held in Gaza and Israel will release 150 Palestinian prisoners.
U.S. President Joe Biden confirmed Tuesday that talks were ongoing and a deal was “very close” amid negotiations over the past six weeks.
“I welcome the deal to secure the release of hostages taken by the terrorist group Hamas during its brutal assault against Israel on October 7th,” Biden said in a statement late Tuesday.
“It is important that all aspects of this deal be fully implemented,” he continued. “Today’s deal should bring home additional American hostages, and I will not stop until they are all released.”
Part of the agreement also sees aid trucks entering Gaza from Egypt and fuel will also be allowed in during the pause in fighting, according to an Israeli official.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke again with his Israeli counterpart Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Tuesday as the talks for a deal rapidly increased.
The United Nations has called for a ceasefire but has also said it would approve of a pause in fighting to be able to get more aid into Gaza. Men, women, and children were taken to hospitals in Gaza after Israeli airstrikes in the Jabalya area in northern Gaza.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department is investigating the deaths of Americans who have died in the war between Hamas and Israel.
“We always investigate deaths of Americans,” Garland said Tuesday. “We are actively investigating the deaths of Americans using all the tools available to us.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that the security forces support the deal and that the war on Hamas would continue.
“Before us tonight is a difficult decision, but it is the right decision: all the security forces support it, fully,” Netanyahu said in a video statement. “They understood that the war effort would not only not hurt, but the opposite: this would allow the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] to prepare for the continuation of the fighting. And I would like to make it clear here again: the war continues.”