National security official says hostage deal is ‘closer’ than they’ve been since the start of the war


Deputy National Security Adviser Jonathan Finer said Sunday that they are “closer” than ever in closing a deal to secure the release of some hostages being held by militant group Hamas. 

NBC’s Kristen Welker asked Finer on “Meet the Press” about reports that officials are close to securing a deal among the U.S., Israel and Hamas to release some of the 240 hostages its militants kidnapped on Oct. 7. Finer, who did not offer many details of the potential deal, said that it is not finalized yet but that they are getting closer. 

“What I can say at this point is that some of the outstanding areas of disagreement, very complicated, very sensitive negotiation has been narrowed,” Finer said. “That I believe we are closer than we have been in quite some time, maybe closer than we have been since the beginning of this process to getting this deal done and we are following it minute by minute, hour by hour and have been for a number of weeks.”

Despite expressing optimism for a deal to be closed soon, Finer warned that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” in terms of the potential deal. When pressed further on how many hostages can potentially be released, he said they are talking “considerably more than 12,” but did not offer much more detail. 

When asked whether these potentially released hostages are women and children, Finer declined to answer. He explained that “it would not be helpful to the completition of the deal” to discuss more specifics. 

He also declined to say whether a prisoner exchange was being discussed to get the hostages released. 

“We believe is not actually helpful to getting this deal across the line,” he said. “But these are exactly the topics that are under discussion. I just want to leave it to them and give them the space and the privacy to be able to work this out and get the deal completed.”

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