Report: Qatar trying to broker Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange

The Gaza strip from an observation point close to the Nir Am Kibbutz in southern Israel. Credit: Doron Horowitz/Flash90.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Qatar has been trying to broker a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas that would see the Gaza Strip-based terrorist group return two captive Israeli citizens and the remains of two Israeli soldiers, the Nazareth-based Kul al-Arab newspaper reported Wednesday.

According to the report, negotiations have been brokered by Mohammed al-Emadi, Qatar's envoy to the Gaza Strip and head of the Qatari National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza.

The report has not been corroborated by any Israeli source, and Hamas has denied that any indirect negotiations are taking place.

Senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil was quoted by Kul al-Arab as saying, "I'm not aware of any Qatari involvement, but there are talks between the parties on this issue."

Israel Defense Forces Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul and Lt. Hadar Goldin, whose bodies are being held by Hamas, were killed in the Gaza Strip in separate battles during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. Ethiopian Israeli Avera Mengistu and Bedouin Hisham al-Sayed, both suffering from mental health issues, crossed into Gaza willingly in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and were captured by Hamas.

Posted on January 12, 2017 .