In Doha, Qatar PM tells hostages’ families that Hamas leader’s killing makes talks ‘difficult’

The meeting marked the first time the families traveled to Doha, where officials promised to ‘leverage all available channels’ to secure their release.

By World Israel News Staff

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani met with the families of six American and Israeli hostages in Doha on Friday, and told them that the assassination of Hamas’ deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut, attributed to Israel, has thrown a wrench in negotiations to secure the release of their family members.

“It is more difficult to talk to Hamas after what happened in Beirut,” the Qatari PM reportedly stated, according to a Qatari official cited in an Axios report.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had informed the families earlier that discussions through Qatari and Egyptian mediation were still in progress, despite the recent freeze in negotiations announced by Hamas after the killing of Arouri.

Israel has not taken credit for the airstrike, which killed six other senior Hamas terrorists as well as Arouri, the longtime No. 2 to Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh who liaised with both Hezbollah chiefs and Iran.

It was the first time the families of hostages have traveled to the country that has been central in mediating between Israel and Hamas. The mediation the October 7 attack in which Palestinian terrorists from Gaza massacred 1,200 people, mainly civilians, and abducted 240 people to Gaza.

During their visit, the families met with Qatar’s Minister of State at the Foreign Ministry, Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi, and later with Prime Minister Al Thani. A Qatari official empathized with the families, acknowledging his country’s “painful awareness of the suffering of the remaining hostages and their loved ones.”

A report in Israeli news site Walla cited the same official as saying that the Gulf nation, where Ismail and other billionaire Hamas leaders, Mousa Abu Marzook and Khaled Mashal, reside, was doing everything in its power to secure the hostages’ release.

“We met directly with the families of the hostages to share with them as much information as we could and to assure them that Qatar is committed to using every possible channel to bring about their release. We will continue to be in contact with the families,” he said.

He added the caveat: “But Qatar is a mediator. It does not control Hamas.”

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Qatar had been instrumental in securing the release of 105 civilians from Hamas captivity during a truce in late November. Some 136 hostages still remain in Gaza. The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 25 hostages based on new intelligence.