The director of the US intelligence services, William J. Burns, has met in Doha with the director of Mossad, David Barnea, to “take advantage of the progress” of the 48-hour extension of the truce in Gaza, US sources told the agency. Reuters.

The meeting was mediated by senior officials from Qatar, a country that hosts Hamas leaders and has acted as a mediating bridge between Israel and the Palestinian group to agree on the truce and release hostages and Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails.

This Tuesday Hamas freed another 11 hostages and the total number of captives released since the fighting began on October 7 amounts to 62. The majority were freed during the truce in recent days and are women and children.

According to American sources, the director of the CIA seeks to pressure so that the negotiations on the hostages – limited for now to the release of women and children – are expanded and can include men and military personnel. If Hamas agrees, there could be the release of US hostages, amounting to about eight or nine captives.

The intelligence agency has declined to comment on the trip, although the US official noted that the meeting includes “an ongoing discussion about the hostages.” Washington relies on the negotiating skills of Burns, who engineered the evacuation of Americans in Afghanistan and negotiated with Russia not to use nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine. “They listen to him and respect him a lot,” said the American source.

Both Qatar and the United States are trying to extend the truce with the aim of continuing the release of hostages, while the families of the captives are also pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to relent to continue the pause.

Israel set a maximum limit of 10 days of truce and for the moment six have been agreed upon. For his part, Netanyahu reiterated last weekend that his main objective is the elimination of Hamas. “We will return in full force to achieve our goal: the elimination of Hamas. Ensure that Gaza does not return to what it was.”

The possible extension of the truce to release hostages must also require a great deal of coordination by Hamas. Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said in an interview with the Financial Times that Hamas must find 40 women and children held by other armed groups in Gaza.

Israel has released 150 Palestinian prisoners in recent days, mostly women and children. Tel Aviv has also allowed the entry of nearly a thousand humanitarian aid trucks with food, fuel and medical supplies, which have given some relief to humanitarian organizations operating on the ground.

Despite the truce, military operations have continued in the West Bank, where the Israeli army has detained more than 160 Palestinians in the last four days. Since last October 7, 3,260 Palestinians have been detained in military operations in the West Bank.

While the United States and Qatar mediate to extend the pause, tension between Israel and Hamas is maximum. The Palestinian group has accused Israel of sending drones to various points in Gaza, while the army assured that Hamas has detonated three explosive devices in several places in northern Gaza, violating “the operational pause.”