Qatar says mediation will lead to Hamas captives releases 'very soon'

AFP , Saturday 21 Oct 2023

Qatar, a key power in the efforts to release captives captured by Hamas, believes they can be released "very soon" thanks to ongoing discussions, a Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman told the German Welt am Sonntag newspaper Saturday.

People wave the Palestinian flag during protests outside the Imam Muhammad Abdel-Wahhab Mosque in support of the Palestinian people following Friday Noon prayers in Doha on October 20, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. AFP


Doha's mediation played a key role in the release on Friday evening of two American hostages who had been held since the Palestinian militant group's attack against Israel on October 7, with the Gulf state adding that it was in talks with Israel and Hamas.

"I can't promise you this will happen today or tomorrow or after tomorrow. But we are taking a path that will very soon lead to release of the hostages, especially civilians," Majed Al-Ansari said.

"We are currently working on an agreement under which all civilian hostages will be initially released," he added.

Israel says 203 people -- Israelis, dual nationals and foreigners -- were abducted by Hamas gunmen when they launched an attack. At least 1,400 people were killed.

Israel has responded with a relentless bombing campaign against the Gaza Strip that has left at least 4,385 people dead, mostly civilians, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Al-Ansari said that the release of the two American nationals "proved to us and our partners that the efforts made in the past days are feasible and must continue".

The two women had been captured by Hamas while visiting the Nahal Oz kibbutz in southern Israel and were the first hostage releases confirmed by both parties.

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