Yahya Sinwar
Yahya SinwarAttia Muhammed/Flash90

A senior Israeli official says this evening (Monday) that Hamas' response to the mediators' latest proposal for a deal included agreeing to release only 20 of its 133 hostages in exchange for a six-week ceasefire.

This is half of the number of hostages the latest proposed deals have called for Hamas to release, and according to the source in Hamas, there are several reasons that indicate that there may not be more than this number of hostages still alive.

This is because, among other things, Hamas claims that a number of the hostages included in this part of the deal - women, men over the age of 50, and men with serious medical conditions are no longer alive or are held captive by others.

At the same time, Hamas demands the release of terrorists serving higher prison sentences, such as murderers, for each hostage who is handed over to Israel. The terrorist organization also demands international guarantees for a complete stop to the war in the first stage of the deal.

According to the source, Hamas' answer clearly indicates that Yahya Sinwar is not interested in the deal and estimates that the international pressure on Israel will increase and he will be able to continue fighting in the hope that a more significant arena will open up on the Lebanese border in addition to Gaza.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller this evening referred to Hamas' refusal of the deal, saying that Israel has "moved significantly from its previous position, but it is Hamas that now stands as an obstacle to a cease-fire in Gaza."

Miller added that "there is a significant offer that came from us and our partners last week. There is a deal on the table that allowed Hamas to get most of what they wanted - and they did not agree. If they had agreed it would have led to an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for six weeks - which would have helped the Palestinian citizens whom they claim to represent."