update deskIsrael at War

Qatari PM hosts families of Israelis in Hamas captivity

Sheikh Mohammed told them the killing of Saleh al-Arouri in Lebanon makes negotiations harder.

Israelis attend a rally calling for the release of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, at "Hostage Square" in Tel Aviv, Jan. 6, 2024. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
Israelis attend a rally calling for the release of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, at "Hostage Square" in Tel Aviv, Jan. 6, 2024. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani met in Doha on Saturday with the families of Israelis being held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

He told the relatives of six captives, including some with American citizenship, that last week’s killing of Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut made it difficult to negotiate for a new hostage exchange deal.

Israel has not taken responsibility for the targeted assassination of the terrorist group’s deputy political chief, although the strike has been widely attributed to Jerusalem.

“The Prime Minister said it is more difficult to talk to Hamas after what happened in Beirut,” a Qatari official told Axios.

Saturday’s meeting was the first time that the Qatari premier has met with the families of Israeli hostages.

The family members also met Qatar‘s minister of state for foreign affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi, who is leading the Qatari mediation team. Doha and Cairo have been attempting to restart talks on another hostage deal after the first one in late November saw the release of over 100 captives taken by Hamas on Oct. 7 during the massacre in the northwestern Negev.

According to reports, the new agreement would see at least 40 hostages released in exchange for a stoppage in fighting for several weeks and the release of Palestinian security prisoners.

Qatar is under increasing scrutiny over its ties to the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza as some U.S. lawmakers urge the Biden administration to toughen its approach to the Arab Gulf state.

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