Hamas officials say they are close to a ceasefire agreement with Israel. The representatives had conveyed their response to officials in Qatar, the head of the Palestinian group, Ismail Haniya, said in a statement obtained by Reuters through his adviser. Further details about the terms of the possible agreement were not initially disclosed.

According to its own statements, the US government continues to work on an agreement to free many hostages in the Gaza Strip. "I don't want to negotiate in public, but we believe we're getting closer to a solution," National Security Council communications director John Kirby said at the White House on Monday. At the moment, however, there is nothing new to announce - they are working "hour by hour" on a solution. Kirby echoed previous U.S. statements that they were closer to an agreement than ever before.

Israel's Army: 40 Minors Among Hamas Hostages in the Gaza Strip

Terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups murdered hundreds of people in Israel on October 7 and abducted some 240 hostages to the Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli army, 40 children and adolescents are among those abducted. On Monday, the military circulated a compilation of images of abducted children on Platform X, formerly Twitter. They had seen "their families murdered before their eyes" and are still being "held hostage by brutal butchers," the post said.

Qatar plays an important role as a mediator in the hostage rescue negotiations. The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mirjana Spoljaric, met Hamas leader Ismail Haniya in the Gulf state. She traveled to the emirate on Monday to advance humanitarian issues related to the conflict in Israel and the Gaza Strip, the aid organization said in Geneva. The visit is part of discussions between the Red Cross and all sides to "improve respect for international humanitarian law".

The Israeli military, meanwhile, continued its offensive in the blockaded Gaza Strip, reportedly finding a weapons depot and a Hamas rocket production facility in the basement of a mosque. In addition, soldiers had also discovered a tunnel entrance there, the army announced on Monday evening. Initially, the information could not be independently verified. In a video released by the armed forces, rockets, mortar shells, their components and the tunnel shaft in the basement of the building in the fiercely contested city of Gaza can be seen.

Soldiers also destroyed a weapons factory of the terrorist organization Islamic Jihad in the coastal area, the army said. They also reportedly captured Hamas command centers in the city of Gaza. Furthermore, tunnels have been destroyed there in recent days and many terrorists have been "eliminated". Soldiers would have engaged in hand-to-hand combat with them.