Israeli government official says delegation sent to negotiate hostage deal with Hamas

Aftermath of Israeli strikes at Gaza's Old City market, in Gaza City

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli government official said on Thursday that a delegation has been sent to negotiate a hostage release deal with Hamas.

Under a deal brokered in late November by the United States, Qatar and Egypt, more than 100 of the estimated 240 hostages taken to Gaza during an attack by Hamas-led militants on Oct. 7 were freed in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Since then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced mounting pressure to secure the release the 136 hostages who remain in captivity.

(Reporting by Emily Rose; editing by Mark Heinrich and Andrew Heavens)