Photos of the hostages
Photos of the hostagesArutz Sheva

Egyptian officials say a deal to release Israeli hostages from Hamas captivity is expected as early as next week, the pro-Qatar Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Tuesday.

The officials also stated that the negotiations are "moving in a positive direction."

The newspaper added that on Wednesday a delegation from Hamas's diplomatic bureau will meet with the head of Egyptian intelligence.

According to the report, the meeting will concentrate on the details of the agreement regarding the duration of the ceasefire and the number of terrorists who will be released from Israeli prisons in return.

Hamas official Mohammad Nazal told the paper that "during the discussions, we strive for a total ceasefire and a hostage and prisoner swap. A multi-stage deal would let us estimate each stage before moving to the next.

"Thousands of prisoners must be released from Israeli prisons as part of a swap deal. We are working in agreement and coordination with the Islamic Jihad and other factions during the negotiations," he added.