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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Israel says 203 people — Israelis, dual nationals and foreigners — were abducted by Hamas gunmen. Natalie Shoshana Raanan (left) and Judith Tai Raanan were the first two hostages released by Hamas. — AFP pic/US Embassy in Jerusalem
BERLIN, Oct 22 — Qatar, a key power in the efforts to release hostages seized by Hamas from Israel, believes they can be released “very soon” thanks to ongoing discussions, a Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman told the German Welt am Sonntag newspaper yesterday.
Doha’s mediation played a key role in the release on Friday evening of two American hostages who had been held since the Palestinian militant group’s attack against Israel on October 7, with the Gulf state adding that it was in talks with Israel and Hamas.
“I can’t promise you this will happen today or tomorrow or after tomorrow. But we are taking a path that will very soon lead to release of the hostages, especially civilians,” Majed Al-Ansari said.
“We are currently working on an agreement under which all civilian hostages will be initially released,” he added.
Israel says 203 people — Israelis, dual nationals and foreigners — were abducted by Hamas gunmen when they launched the deadliest attacks in Israel’s 75-year history. At least 1,400 people were killed, mostly civilians, according to the government.
Israel has responded with a relentless bombing campaign against the Gaza Strip that has left at least 4,385 people dead, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas administration.
Al-Ansari said that the release of the two American nationals “proved to us and our partners that the efforts made in the past days are feasible and must continue”.
The two women had been kidnapped by Hamas while visiting the Nahal Oz kibbutz in southern Israel and were the first hostage releases confirmed by both parties. — AFP
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