Mossad hosts Qatari officials in Israel to discuss extending ceasefire, hostage release

Mossad Chief David Barnea has strong ties with Qatari officials, who arrived on Saturday for an indefinite stay in Israel.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel’s Mossad spy agency is currently hosting Qatari counterparts to discuss the extension of the four-day ceasefire in the war with Gaza as part of a hostage deal that saw the release of 40 Israelis, one Filipino, and 17 Thai citizens over the past three days.

The Qatari delegation arrived on Saturday for an indefinite stay in Israel, the Reuters news agency said, despite the lack of formal relations between the countries.

After the release of 14 hostages on Sunday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israelis were “moved to the depth of our souls.”

The French Le Figaro newspaper over the weekend reported that the hostage deal included an assurance from Netanyahu that Israel would refrain from targeting Hamas terror leaders residing in Qatar.

French journalist Georges Malbrunot said that as part of the agreement, the Mossad would not conduct targeted assassinations of senior Hamas members on Qatari soil.

“Doha presented its precondition to Israel a few weeks ago, before assuming its role as a mediator in the hostage issue,” Malbrunot wrote in the Le Figaro published on Saturday.

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Days earlier, however, Netanyahu publicly stated that he had directed the Mossad to target senior Hamas officials “wherever they are.”

“I instructed the Mossad to act against Hamas leaders wherever they are,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

He even went on to say that “there is no obligation in the agreement to not act in a truce against the leaders of Hamas.”

Mossad chief David Barnea, who according to Israeli media reports maintains strong ties with Qatari leaders, on Wednesday traveled to Doha to meet with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani to discuss the terms of the deal.

Israel’s war cabinet also convened on Sunday to deliberate the potential extension of the ceasefire, while President Joe Biden affirmed his commitment to extending the deal.

“We’ll work to extend the deal,” Biden said.

Biden expressed his gratitude for the release of Avigail Idan, who holds American citizenship, stating, “Thank God she is home. I wish I were there to hold her.”

“For weeks I have been advocating a pause in the fighting to increase assistance for Gaza civilians and to facilitate the release of the hostages,” Biden said.

In addition to the release of 150 Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails, humanitarian aid has also seen a substantial increase, with around 200 trucks entering Gaza through Rafah daily since the truce’s commencement on Thursday morning.