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US, Qatar working to expel Hamas from Doha – report

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Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian meets with Palestinian group Hamas' top leader, Ismail Haniyeh in Doha, Qatar December 20, 2023.(photo credit: IRAN'S FOREIGN MINISTRY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
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Since the beginning of the war in Gaza, there have been several reports that Qatar is considering expelling Hamas from Doha.

The US and Qatar are working together to expel Hamas leaders from Doha, Al-Arabiya reported on Friday.

The head of Hamas’s politburo, Ismail Haniyeh, has lived in luxury in Doha for years. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Qatar has been central in meditating talks aimed at reaching a ceasefire and a release of the hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza. The Al-Arabiya report did not provide further details about the alleged Qatari and American efforts to expel Hamas from Doha.

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In October, The Washington Post reported that Qatar and the US had agreed to discuss Hamas’s presence in Doha once the crisis in the region was resolved, although it was unclear what exactly that would entail. In December, Israeli media reported that Qatar had agreed to exile Hamas leaders if a ceasefire was reached, although a Qatari official denied that this was the case.

Hostage release, ceasefire talks remain stuck

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The report came as ceasefire and hostage release talks between Israel and Hamas remained stuck in place.

According to Al-Arabiya, negotiations in Cairo concerning a deal to release the hostages held by Hamas and to institute a ceasefire were “stuck,” and Hamas’s response to the most recent proposal was “an embarrassment to Egypt’s efforts with the US.”

On Thursday, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported, citing Egyptian sources, that a high-level Egyptian security delegation visited Israel on Wednesday to discuss a new round of negotiations for a ceasefire agreement that would take place in Cairo.

According to the report, Israeli and Egyptian officials discussed plans by the IDF to expand operations in Rafah, and it was agreed that a decision on the matter would be postponed in order not to obstruct the negotiations in Cairo.

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The Egyptian sources added to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that Israel is insistent on lowering the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released and on keeping a military presence in the Gaza Strip. Additionally, the talks in Cairo will focus on allowing residents of Gaza to return to northern Gaza.

Egypt is also working to hold negotiations between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in order to form a national unity government between the two.

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