Qatar, a key power in efforts to release hostages seized from Israel by Hamas, believes they can be released “very quickly” thanks to ongoing discussions, a Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson told the German newspaper on Saturday Welt am Sonntag.
Doha’s mediation played a key role in the release on Friday evening of two American hostages held since the Palestinian group’s attack on Israel on October 7, with the Gulf state adding it was in talks with Israel and Hamas.
“I can’t promise you that this will happen today, tomorrow or the day after. But we are following a path that will very soon lead to the release of the hostages, especially civilians,” said Majed Al-Ansari.
“We are currently working on an agreement that will initially see the release of all civilian hostages,” he added.
Israel says 203 people – Israelis, dual nationals and foreigners – were kidnapped by Hamas gunmen as they launched the deadliest attacks in Israel’s 75-year history. At least 1,400 people, mostly civilians, were killed, according to the government.
Israel has responded with a brutal bombing campaign against the Gaza Strip, killing at least 4,385 people, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas government.
Al-Ansari said the release of the two US citizens “has proven to us and our partners that the efforts of the past days are feasible and must be continued.”
The two women had been kidnapped by Hamas while visiting Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel, marking the first release of hostages confirmed by both sides.
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