Israel-Hamas war: Qatar ures that only “minor” obstacles remain before an agreement on hostages

The conclusion of an agreement on the release of hostages kidnapped by the Palestinian movement Hamas during its attack on October 7 against Israel now rests on “minor” practical questions, the Qatari Prime Minister said this Sunday, without however providing a timetable.

“The challenges that remain in the negotiations are very minor (…) They are more logistical, they are more practical,” declared Mohammed bin Abdelrahmane Al-Thani during a press conference in Doha alongside the head of the diplomacy of the European Union, Josep Borrell.

Negotiations towards an agreement have had “ups and downs over the last few weeks. I think I am now more confident that we are close enough to reach an agreement that will allow these people (the hostages) to return home safely,” he added.

Very involved in the negotiations

The Hamas attack on Israeli soil on October 7 left 1,200 dead, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities who estimate that around 240 people were taken hostage by the Palestinian Islamist movement that day.

In retaliation, Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas which took power in Gaza in 2007. Israeli bombings on the Gaza Strip have since left 12,300 dead, mainly civilians, according to the Palestinian movement’s government.

Qatar, which hosts a Hamas political office, was involved in the mediation that allowed in October the release of four hostages : an American woman and her daughter as well as two Israeli women. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that he refuses any ceasefire until all the hostages have been released.

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