Qatar may expel Hamas officials if they refuse to agree to hostage deal – WSJ

Hamas’ top leaders, Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal, live in Qatar.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Sources within Hamas and Egyptian officials have told The Wall Street Journal that Doha has threatened to deport senior Hamas officials if hostage release talks collapse.

Currently, the leader of the political wing of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal, head of the Hamas politburo, live in Qatar.

According to Egyptian officials, Haniyeh seemed amenable to the proposed 6-week ceasefire and hostage release deal negotiated by Qatar, Egypt, the US, and Israel, but October 7th mastermind Yahya Sinwar vetoed the deal and doubled down on previous demands for a permanent ceasefire and a complete withdrawal of IDF troops from the Gaza Strip.

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Hamas’s demands “delusional” and said Israel would agree to nothing less than “total victory” over Hamas.

As implementation of the new hostage release deal before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan seemed imminent last week, Hamas refused Israel’s request for a list of surviving hostages, and a result, Israel held back its delegates from attending negotiations in Cairo.

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In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Hamas political leader Husam Badran denied that Israel ever requested a list of surviving hostages.

Badran who, along with Sinwar, was released from Israeli prison after planning terror attacks, such as the one at Sbarro’s in Jerusalem and the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv that killed over 120 Israelis.

Badran also claimed that 60 hostages taken from Israel have died in captivity, which is a higher figure than the 50 estimated by Israeli officials.

Badran also blames Israel for the absence of a ceasefire before Ramadan.

He said, “We didn’t declare negotiations have been stopped. We are the party most keen to stop this war.

According to Mossad director David Barnea, Sinwar is deliberately sabotaging hostage talks because he is planning on “igniting the region” over Ramadan at the expense of Palestinians in Gaza.

There is speculation that Sinwar is plotting terror attacks over Ramadan to raise the prestige of Hamas in the eyes of the Palestinian public.