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Qatar’s emir discusses Gaza cease-fire efforts with Hamas chief

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani held talks with Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh on Monday to discuss efforts to reach a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

The discussions dwelt on Palestinian developments and Qatari efforts to reach an immediate and durable cease-fire in Gaza, the Emiri Diwan said in a statement.

Sheikh Tamim reiterated Qatar’s “unwavering support for the Palestinian people and their just cause and the significance of the Palestinian unity to regain their legitimate rights, primarily the right to establish their independent state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the statement said.

An Israeli delegation is scheduled to arrive in the Qatari capital, Doha, later Monday for talks on a possible hostage-prisoner swap deal with Hamas.

Qatar, along with Egypt and the US, is mediating between Hamas and Israel to put an end to a deadly Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7.

Hamas is believed to be holding more than 130 Israeli hostages following its cross-border attack on Oct. 7, while Israel holds at least 8,800 Palestinians in its prisons, according to official sources from both parties.

The Palestinian group demands an end to Israel’s ongoing onslaught on Gaza in return for any hostage deal.

A previous deal in November saw the release of 81 Israelis and 24 foreigners in exchange for 240 Palestinians, including 71 women and 169 children.

Nearly 29,800 Palestinians have been killed and over 70,000 others injured in Israeli attacks on Gaza since Oct. 7 amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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