US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani today to discuss the war in Gaza against Hamas and continued efforts for a ceasefire and de-escalation, the country’s news agency says.
Al-Thani told Blinken Qatar was committed, alongside its mediation partners, to the ongoing efforts to restore “calm” after more than eight weeks of war following Hamas’s October 7 massacre of some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the abduction of some 240 Israeli and foreign hostages.
In a post on X, Blinken says he spoke with Al-Thani about “ongoing efforts to facilitate the safe return of all hostages and further increase levels of aid to civilians in Gaza.”
Blinken also “reiterated his gratitude for Qatar’s partnership and critical efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas and enable the recent humanitarian pause in Gaza,” spokesperson Matthew Miller says in a statement.
Last week, Qatar brokered a temporary truce that lasted seven days, until Friday, and secured the release of over 100 hostages, mostly women and children. The truce broke down late Thursday when Hamas would not produce a list of hostages expected for release the next day, per the provisions of the deal, which also saw the release of three Palestinian prisoners for every hostage, a pause in Gaza fighting, and the delivery of increased aid to the Palestinian enclave.
Israel has claimed Hamas refused to release additional female abductees and two remaining child hostages, as part of the deal, and thus violated the agreement..
On Friday morning, Hamas fired rockets into Israel and Israel resumed its air and land operation in Gaza.
Al-Thani told Blinken the resumption of fighting complicated the efforts to mediate and exacerbated the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
The Qatari prime minister conveyed Qatar’s condemnation of the targeting of civilians, especially women and children, and of “collective punishment” under any circumstances, and urged for the opening humanitarian corridors in Gaza to ensure safe passage and aid for civilians.