Qatar announces humanitarian deal between Hamas and Israel

Qatar has announced that it has successfully mediated an agreement between Israel and Hamas that will enable humanitarian aid to be delivered to civilians in Gaza in exchange for the delivery of medicines to Israeli hostages held by the Palestinian group.

“Medicine along with other humanitarian aid is to be delivered to civilians in the Gaza Strip, in the most affected and vulnerable areas, in exchange for delivering medication needed for Israeli captives in Gaza,” the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted to its X account on Tuesday.

The agreement was reached in cooperation with France, according to the statement, adding that the medications and aid will depart from “Doha tomorrow for the city of Al-Arish in the sisterly Arab Republic of Egypt, on board two Qatari Armed Forces aircraft, in preparation for their transport into the Gaza Strip,” the ministry added.

The agreement is a joint effort between Qatar and France, Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majid bin Mohammed Al Ansari told Qatar News Agency (QNA).

Al Ansari added the humanitarian aid is scheduled to be dispatched Wednesday to the Egyptian city of El Arish utilizing two Qatari Armed Forces planes before reaching the Gaza Strip.

The office of Israel’s prime minister has confirmed that the delivery of medicines to Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip will start Wednesday, following a deal brokered by Qatar and France to allow medicine and aid into the enclave.

”On instruction from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pursuant to the Director of the Mossad’s agreement with Qatar on providing medicines to the Israeli hostages, two Qatari Air Force planes are expected to fly tomorrow to Egypt with medicines that have been purchased in France, according to a list that was compiled in Israel, according to the medical needs of the hostages,” Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Tuesday in a statement on X.

”Upon the planes’ arrival in Egypt, the medicines will be transferred by Qatari representatives to their final destination inside the Gaza Strip,” it added.

The statement also noted that “Prime Minister Netanyahu conveys his appreciation to all those who have assisted in the endeavor”, adding that ”Israel insists that all the medicines reach their destination.”

On Oct. 7, Hamas carried out an attack on Israeli settlements near Gaza, resulting in the death of 1,200 Israelis, injury to 5,500 and the capture of at least 240 hostages.

Hamas released around a half of its hostages during the week-long truce in November. According to the Israeli authorities, it currently holds 132 people, while 25 captives have been killed in the fighting. Israel estimates the presence of “137 hostages still held in the Gaza Strip”, according to media reports and statements from Israeli officials.

Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since the cross-border attack by Hamas. At least 24,285 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and 61,154 injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.

According to the UN, 85% of the population of Gaza is already internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure is damaged or destroyed.

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