Deal close for Gaza hostage release, temporary cease-fire, US official says

A deal to secure the release of some of the hostages held in Gaza by Hamas militants is closer than ever in the Islamist group’s war with Israel, a White House official said on Sunday.

White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said an agreement to free “considerably more than 12” hostages would also likely include an extended pause in the fighting and allow for the distribution of humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

Fighting raged on Sunday, with Hamas militants battling Israeli forces trying to push into Gaza’s largest refugee camp, the day after Israeli and United States officials denied a Washington Post report that a deal had been reached.