Deal reached for Gaza hostages to receive medicines: mediator Qatar

DOHA: A deal to allow the delivery of medicines to hostages in Gaza and aid into the territory has been agreed following mediation by Qatar and France, Doha announced on Tuesday.
In a statement to the official Qatar News Agency, the foreign ministry announced the deal “between Israel and (Hamas), where medicine along with other humanitarian aid is to be delivered to civilians in Gaza…in exchange for delivering medication needed for Israeli captives in Gaza”.
Qatar, which hosts Hamas’s political office, has led negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian militant group, having mediated a week-long break in the war in Gaza in November which included the release of scores of Israeli and foreign hostages.
The conflict followed an unprecedented Hamas attack on October 7 that resulted in the death of around 1,140 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
Militants also dragged about 250 hostages back to Gaza, 132 of whom Israel says remain there, including at least 25 believed to have been killed.
At least 24,285 Palestinians, more than 70 percent of them women, young children and adolescents, have been killed in the Gaza Strip in Israeli bombardments and a ground offensive since October 7, according to the territory’s health ministry.
Qatari foreign ministry spokesman Majid Al-Ansari told QNA “the medications and aid will leave Doha tomorrow to the city of Al-Arish in the sisterly Arab Republic of Egypt, on board two Qatari Armed Forces aircrafts, in preparation for their transport into the Gaza Strip”.
A diplomat briefed on the talks told AFP the deal followed a visit by the families of hostages held in Gaza to Qatar and a meeting with the Gulf nation’s prime minister.
“Qatar has fast tracked engagement with Hamas and Israel on the need to get medicine in to the hostages and to civilian Palestinians in Gaza. Both have shown willingness,” the diplomat said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of talks.
The diplomat said mediators were working to finalise details and discussing with international organisations logistics for delivery, while stressing that the talks are separate from wider efforts towards a ceasefire.
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