Hamas has said it does not have 40 captives who are still alive who meet the “humanitarian” criteria for a proposed hostages-for-prisoners ceasefire agreement with Israel.

This claim made at the weekend was confirmed by a senior Israeli official during talks in Cairo.

The militant group said it does not have 40 hostages in Gaza who meet the exchange criteria, according to the Guardian UK.

Ceasefire talks have focused on a US-backed proposal of a phased exchange of hostages and prisoners.

In the first instance, women, children, and elderly or sick people – including five female Israeli soldiers – would be exchanged for an estimated 900 Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel, alongside a six-week ceasefire in Gaza.

Hamas appears reluctant to make up the numbers for an exchange with surviving male hostages, according to the story.

Reliable information about how many hostages remain alive, who is holding them and where, has been hard to come by.

The CIA director, William Burns, has presented a new proposal to try to bridge the gaps between the two sides.

The US is pressuring Israel to agree to release 900 Palestinian prisoners in the first phase of a three-stage deal as well as allowing the return of Palestinians to northern Gaza.

The talks, which resumed on Sunday, have brought no signs of a breakthrough on a plan presented by US, Qatari and Egyptian mediators, which Hamas said it was studying.

About 240 hostages, including the bodies of some killed during Hamas’s 7 October attack on southern Israel, were taken into Gaza during the assault.

So far 112 hostages have been returned alive to Israel.

Of those, 105 were released as part of an exchange last year.