December 2, 2023

Hamas leaders mentioned on Friday that they’d determined to free the mom and daughter for “humanitarian causes.” On Saturday, in an unmarked villa in Doha, Khalil al-Hayya, a member of the Hamas Politburo, shared extra of the group’s pondering.

He argued that the members of the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, who carried out the Oct. 7 assault, had been instructed to not hurt or seize civilians. However after the fighters broke by Israel’s metallic barrier fence with Gaza, he mentioned, members of different armed teams and different Gazans poured in behind them.

It was these individuals, Mr. al-Hayya insisted, who had slaughtered the Israeli civilians and kidnapped dozens of civilians after which dragged them again by the damaged fence to Gaza.

“Our subject is with the troopers, the navy individuals,” he mentioned.

In depth footage of the assault, nevertheless, clearly disproves his assertions. Movies present Hamas gunmen capturing and killing unarmed civilians on streets, in neighborhoods and at an out of doors music competition. Paperwork discovered on lifeless Hamas assailants additionally included directions to take civilian hostages, Israeli officers have mentioned.

Mr. al-Hayya mentioned that earlier than Hamas releases any extra hostages, Israel’s bombing of Gaza has to cease. He additionally mentioned that different militant teams in Gaza had been holding among the hostages and that Hamas wants time “to look within the properties, with households, with the factions, and convey them collectively.”

All through this complete disaster, American officers have remained in shut contact with the Qataris, who’re in shut contact with Hamas. White Home officers referred to as them. Mr. Blinken spent just a few hours in Qatar on Oct. 13, throughout his seven-nation sweep by the Center East, and there he spoke in regards to the hostages with the emir, Sheikh Tamim ibn Hamad Al Thani, and the prime minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.

The Qatari officers advised Mr. Blinken about concrete steps the Individuals might begin taking to attempt to get hostages launched, a U.S. official mentioned. Earlier than flying out to Bahrain, Mr. Blinken stood beside the prime minister and advised reporters that the 2 nations had been “working intensively collectively” on the hostages and that he was “grateful for the urgency that Qatar is bringing to this effort.”

One senior official from a rustic concerned within the negotiations mentioned that Hamas’s political leaders are in search of a pause in Israeli assaults on Gaza to permit the group to collect details about the entire hostages, and that they’ve agreed, in precept, to releasing the entire civilians, together with overseas nationals, who had been taken captive. Mr. al-Hayya, in his interview, seconded that notion. Nonetheless, it’s unclear when, or beneath precisely what circumstances, Hamas would conform to launch them.

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