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Hopes for hostage release as Israel PM says deal 'right decision'

A woman lights candles in Tel Aviv, demanding the release of Israelis held hostage in Gaza
— Gaza Strip (Palestinian Territories) (AFP)

Hopes mounted Tuesday that Hamas could release dozens of hostages from war-torn Gaza after the Israeli premier said a truce deal was the "right decision" and the militant group's leader and key mediator Qatar said an agreement was in sight.

The announcements are the most optimistic yet of a potential breakthrough in the conflict, which has raged for more than six weeks and left thousands dead on both sides.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of his cabinet that accepting a deal for the release of hostages taken in the Hamas attacks of October 7 was "a difficult decision but it's a right decision".

Netanyahu, who has vowed to destroy Hamas, said US President Joe Biden had helped to "improve the framework being laid out before you... to include more hostages at a lower price".

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