Chief of Israel’s Mossad spy agency David Barnea has returned from the Qatari capital Doha following an initial meeting with mediators. Israeli Prime Minister’s Office has announced that a team will be dispatched next week to continue the negotiations.

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the dispatch of a delegation for negotiations on a ceasefire deal with Hamas in Gaza and the release of hostages.

The recent development marks a renewed effort to negotiate an end to the nearly nine-month-long conflict, which, according to the Gaza-based health authorities, has resulted in the deaths of more than 38,000 Palestinians in the enclave.