CIA chief to visit Europe to help broker Israel-Hamas deal, Washington Post says

The Washington Post has reported that CIA Director William Burns plans to help broker a deal between Israel and Hamas involving a release of all Israeli hostages held by the Islamic group.

The newspaper on Thursday cited US government officials as saying Burns is expected to travel to Europe in the coming days. It said he is expected to meet Israeli and Egyptian intelligence chiefs, as well as Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. The Egyptian chief is mediating ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas.

Regarding the planned meetings, another US official reportedly told the newspaper that "there have been enough exchanges of ideas and proposals that we are nearing the serious phase of negotiations."
A White House senior official said on Wednesday that US Middle East envoy Brett McGurk visited Egypt and Qatar.

The US government aims to step up efforts for a release of the hostages by dispatching Burns.

Israel's military says Hamas is still holding more than 130 hostages.

On Thursday, the military said its troops trained in urban combat are fiercely battling Hamas militants hiding in buildings and tunnels.

Health authorities in Gaza said on Thursday 200 people were killed in the previous 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 25,900.