Hostages being released
Hostages being releasedFlash 90

Hamas has rejected the most recent Israeli proposal for a hostage release deal, CNN reported on Friday, citing a diplomat familiar with the discussions.

“They refused and asserted it doesn’t include any reply to their asks,” the diplomat said. Hamas believes “that Israeli proposal includes nothing new so they see no need to change their proposal,” the official told CNN.

Earlier this week, an Israeli proposal had been sent to Hamas which the diplomat said did not accept two key Hamas demands: That there be unrestricted return of Gazans to the north and the pullback of IDF troops.

A senior diplomatic official in Israel expressed optimism this week that a deal to return the hostages held by Hamas is possible in the near future.

"If Hamas is interested in a deal - we can move forward. We have come a long way this time as well, there is potential for progress in the coming days," said the source.

On Wednesday, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said that the terrorist group was sticking to its conditions for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, including an Israeli military withdrawal.

Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan on Thursday reiterated that the group’s position has not changed since delivering these two key demands to mediators on March 14. Hamdan said the last round of talks held in Egypt this week have not yielded “any progress."

Meanwhile, Axios reported on Thursday that CIA director William Burns is expected to travel to Cairo this weekend for talks with the chief of the Mossad and top Qatari and Egyptian officials in an effort to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

Burns is expected to meet with Mossad director David Barnea, Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani and Egyptian spy chief Abbas Kamel.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)