The ceasefire in the Gaza Strip may be extended by Israel if the Palestinian group Hamas, designated terrorist by the United States and the European Union, uses the humanitarian pause to search for hostages, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani said. The Financial Times writes about this.
According to the prime minister, we are talking about more than 40 women and children held in the Gaza Strip by other Palestinian groups. The sheikh clarified that Israel handed over to Qatar, which is acting as a mediator in negotiations with the jihadists, a list of 90 women and children who are most likely being held hostage.
The prime minister also noted that Hamas told him that its armed forces allegedly did not take people hostage during the October 7 attack on southern Israel. At the same time, footage of the attack shows how armed people in Hamas uniforms enter Israeli homes and kill civilians, writes the Financial Times.
It is known that the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad, recognized as terrorist in the US, EU, Israel and other countries, joined the Hamas attack on October 7, but it is not mentioned in the newspaper publication.
The sheikh expressed concern that a possible failure to ensure a prolonged cessation of hostilities could destabilize the entire region. In addition, according to the prime minister, the prolonged bombing and siege of Gaza could radicalize young Arabs.
In mid-November, the Hamas leadership admitted that it did not know the exact location of 50 hostages. The jihadists were also reported to have lost contact with other groups holding the captives. According to Axios, Hamas holds about 180 people in the Gaza Strip, Islamic Jihad – 40, and other Palestinian groups – 20.
A temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip has been in force since November 24. During this time, Hamas released a total of 58 people in three stages – 40 Israelis and 18 foreigners. In turn, Israel released 117 Palestinians – women and teenagers – from its prisons.
Today, on the last day of the humanitarian pause, another exchange of hostages and prisoners is due to take place. According to media reports, Hamas handed over a list of 11 people to Israel on Sunday evening. The Israeli side confirmed its receipt, calling it “problematic,” but no details were provided.
In just four days, the Palestinian group must release 50 hostages in exchange for 150 prisoners.
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