DOHA: Qatar on Tuesday called on Israel and Hamas to reach an agreement on the release of hostages captured in the October 7 attack and warned that the situation in Gaza is worsening day by day.
Majed bin Mohammed Al-Ansari, spokesman for Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press conference in Doha that the “deteriorating” situation in Gaza was hindering mediation efforts.
“We believe that both parties have no choice but to make this mediation happen and reach a situation where we can see a ray of hope in this terrible crisis,” he added.
Israel-Lebanon front heats up, raising fears of wider war
The Gulf nation had been leading negotiations to release hostages and establish a temporary ceasefire following a Hamas attack on southern Israel a month ago that killed nearly 1,200 people, most of them civilians.
Approximately 240 hostages were also captured and taken back to Gaza.
In response, Israel launched a relentless bombardment and subsequent ground invasion of Gaza, killing 11,240 people, mostly civilians and thousands of children, according to the region’s Hamas-run government.
Hamas said on Monday that Israel wanted the release of 100 female and child hostages in exchange for 200 Palestinian children and 75 women held in Israeli prisons.
Hamas spokesman Abu Ubeida said the group had informed mediators that up to 70 people could be released “if a five-day ceasefire is achieved… and aid is delivered to all our people in the Gaza Strip.”
He stated that the release of more Israeli hostages could not be achieved because “some of them are in the hands of different groups and factions” and accused Israel of dragging its feet.
Israeli leaders have insisted there will be no broader ceasefire until the hostages are released.
Al-Ansari declined to comment on the details of the hostage negotiations but said he remained “hopeful” for further releases as the Gulf state mediates with Hamas and Israel.
The wealthy Gulf Emirate, home to the largest US military base in the Middle East, also hosts the political office of Hamas and is the main residence of Ismail Haniyeh.
He has used his channels with Hamas, which he founded with US approval, to play a leading role in the release of four of the hostages so far.
news source (www.brecorder.com)