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US tells Qatar to threaten Hamas with expulsion amid cease-fire talks impasse

US tells Qatar to threaten Hamas with expulsion amid cease-fire talks impasse

 
- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken conveyed message to Qatari leader during meeting on March 5 in Washington, according to report
 

By Serdar Dincel

ISTANBUL (AA) - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Qatar to threaten Hamas with deportation from the capital Doha, home to senior Hamas members, in case the group does not agree on a cease-fire and prisoner swap deal to end the war in Gaza, CNN reported Thursday.

Citing two US officials, the report revealed that Blinken conveyed this message to Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of Qatar, in a meeting held on March 5 in Washington.

The officials said that Qatar comprehended the message and showed no major rebuff.

It remains to be seen whether Qatari officials conveyed this warning to Hamas.

Indirect negotiations continue in Doha between Israel and Hamas, mediated by Qatar and Egypt and with the participation of the US, aiming to achieve a cease-fire and a prisoner exchange deal amid Israel's ongoing war on Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas in which some 1,200 Israelis were killed.

Nearly 32,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, and nearly 74,200 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of most food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which in January issued an interim ruling ordering Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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