The Red Cross announced Monday evening that its president had traveled to Qatar to meet Palestinian Hamas leader Ismaïl Haniyeh in order to “advance on humanitarian issues linked to the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza”, a Palestinian territory governed by this movement.
“President Mirjana Spoljaric met with Ismaïl Haniyeh, head of the Hamas political bureau, and separately with the authorities of Qatar,” the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement. Ismaïl Haniyeh is the head of the Hamas political bureau. At 61, he was notably the architect of Hamas’ electoral victory in 2006 in the Gaza Strip. He also served as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.
This visit comes as Qatar, which is mediating to try to obtain the release of Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip, assured Sunday that only “very minor” obstacles remained to an agreement. .
According to the ICRC, Mirjana Spoljaric’s visit is part of efforts to hold “direct discussions with all parties in order to improve respect for international humanitarian law.” He points out that his president has also met “several times in recent weeks with families of hostages held in Gaza, as well as senior Israeli and Palestinian officials”.
13,300 dead in Gaza according to Hamas
In this regard, the ICRC “insists that (its) teams be authorized to visit the hostages in order to ensure their well-being and administer medication, and so that the hostages can communicate with their loved ones. families “. “Agreements must be reached to allow the ICRC to carry out its work safely. The ICRC cannot forcibly enter the places where the hostages are being held, nor do we know where they are,” the statement continued.
The Israeli military estimates that some 240 people were taken hostage in the Gaza Strip during Hamas’ unprecedented attack on Israeli territory on October 7. This left around 1,200 dead in Israel, mainly civilians, according to a report by Israeli authorities.
In retaliation, Israel has relentlessly bombed the Gaza Strip and since October 27 has been carrying out a ground operation aimed at “wiping out” the Islamist movement in power in the besieged Palestinian territory. These Israeli strikes on Gaza left more than 13,300 dead, including more than 5,600 children, according to the Hamas government.
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