Gaza Hostage Talks Reach “Closest” to Deal Since Start of War: Qatar

Tue Nov 21 2023
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DOHA: Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Majed Al-Ansari, on Tuesday said that negotiations to secure the release of hostages taken during Hamas’s October 7 attacks have reached their “closest point” to a deal. He said that discussions are in the “final stage” to strike a deal to release hostages.

During a briefing on Tuesday, Qatar, acting as a mediator, expressed optimism and hope. Foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari stated, “We are at the closest point we ever had been in reaching an agreement,” noting that negotiations have entered a “critical and final stage.”

Qatar’s mediation efforts have aimed at securing the release of some of the 240 hostages in exchange for a ceasefire. So far, this initiative has resulted in the release of four hostages. “We are very optimistic, very hopeful,” Al-Ansari emphasized. “But we are also very keen for this mediation to succeed in reaching a humanitarian truce.”

Israel Continues Relentless Bombing Campaign in Gaza

Israel, responding to the October 7 attacks, has pledged to eliminate the Palestinian resistance group Hamas. Israel has continued a relentless and brutal bombing campaign and a ground offensive in Gaza, resulting in more than 13,300 deaths of innocent Palestinians, with two-thirds being women or children, according to the territory’s health ministry.

Despite recent speculation about a tentative agreement reported by the Washington Post, the United States clarified on Saturday that it is still working towards securing a deal between Israel and Hamas. The reported agreement suggested a pause in fighting in exchange for the release of women and children hostages, with combat operations on hold for at least five days.

In response to the speculations, Al-Ansari said, “We have seen a lot of the leaks or the statements here and there, but we would prefer to keep our statements until we have a final decision on the agreement.”


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