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Israel deal with Qatar to get medicines to hostages in Gaza

January 12, 2024 at 7:21 pm

Red Cross officials in Gaza on November 29, 2023 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images]

Israel has made an arrangement with Qatar that will allow the delivery of medicines to hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, the Israeli Prime Minister’s office said on Friday, Reuters reports.

The medications would be given to the hostages “in the next few days,” the office said in a statement.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which represents the families of hostages, said it would demand “visual proof” the medications had reached the hostages.

“After 98 days in Hamas tunnels, all hostages face immediate mortal danger and need life-saving medicines,” a statement from the Forum said. “In addition to medicines, the hostages require also extensive medical treatment.”

Many of the hostages are elderly and have chronic illnesses that require daily medications. Their families have petitioned the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit the hostages to deliver medicine and inspect their conditions. The Red Cross has said Hamas has denied it access.

More than 100 hostages remain in Gaza after a 7 October rampage by militants from Hamas who killed 1,200 people and took 240 people hostage, according to Israel’s tally. Israel has since laid waste to the Palestinian enclave in a campaign to eliminate Hamas.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

In a deal brokered by Qatar and the United States that allowed for a brief truce in November, Hamas freed almost half the hostages in return for the release by Israel of scores of Palestinian detainees, as well as an increase in humanitarian aid shipments to Gaza.

Released hostages have described dire conditions in Hamas captivity, including torture, sexual assault and lack of vital medicines.

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