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.
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“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.
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 there remained only “very minor” obstacles to an agreement. .
According to the ICRC, Ms. Spoljaric’s visit is part of efforts to hold “direct discussions with all parties to improve respect for international humanitarian law.”
He emphasizes that its president has also met “on multiple occasions in recent weeks with families of hostages held in Gaza, as well as senior Israeli and Palestinian officials.”
In this regard, the ICRC “insists that (its) teams be authorized to visit the hostages in order to ensure their well-being and to administer medication, and so that the hostages are able to communicate with their loved ones. families”.
“Agreements must be reached to allow the ICRC to carry out its work safely. The ICRC cannot forcefully 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 October 7 attack on Israeli territory. This left around 1,200 dead in Israel, mainly civilians, according to a report by the Israeli authorities.
In retaliation, Israel has relentlessly bombed the Gaza Strip and since October 27 has been carrying out a ground operation with the aim of “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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