Pictures of hostages
Pictures of hostagesIsrael National News

Hamas has announced it is willing to lower the number of prisoners it demands Israel release in a hostage deal to 3,000, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Previous demands from the group have included the release of all women, children, and several prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment. Hamas continues to demand the release of those serving lengthy sentences for terrorism.

Hamas likewise continues to demand a permanent ceasefire, beginning with a six-week pause in the fighting. Egyptian officials say that Hamas is likely to demand a plan under which further releases of hostages will be contingent on progress toward a permanent end to the war.

Egyptian mediators say that the current offer from Hamas is to retain male Israeli soldiers until a permanent ceasefire is negotiated and Israeli troops have fully withdrawn from the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that he considers such a demand unacceptable. Israel is at the moment only negotiating humanitarian aid and has not sent a technical team to Cairo for further negotiations with Hamas.