Doha: The Qatar government announced that Israel and Hamas have reached an agreement to provide medicines to the hostages in Gaza, as well to allow the entry of more humanitarian aid to the besiged enclave.
In a statement late Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said the deal was reached in cooperation with France.
Under the agreement, “medicine along with other humanitarian aid will be delivered to civilians in Gaza Strip, in the most affected and vulnerable areas, in exchange for delivering medication needed for Israeli captives in Gaza”, Ministry spokesperson Majed bin Mohammed Al-Ansari was quoted as saying in the statement.
Al-Ansari added that the medications and aid will leave Doha on Wednesday to the Egyptian city of Al-Arish on board two Qatari Armed Forces aircraft, in preparation for their transport into the Gaza Strip.
He also “stressed the continuation of efforts with regional and international partners during, particularly in humanitarian issues and medical evacuation, within the framework of Qatari efforts to bring about an end to the war in Gaza”.
According to Israeli authorities, about 136 people, including foreign nationals, remain in capitivity in the Hamas-controlled enclave.
On Tuesday, two of them were pronounced killed in captivity.
During the humanitarian pause on November 24-30, 2023, 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released.
Israel’s Hostages and Missing Families Forum, an advocacy group for the victims’ families, has said that at least a third of the abductees have chronic illnesses and require immediate medications, CNN reported.
In a report released last week, the Forum added that “others suffer from illnesses related to the harsh captivity conditions, which include mental and physical torture”.
The Qatari announcement came days after the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said Mossad chief David Barnea had reached an agreement with Doha on the delivery of medicines to hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.
Qatar played a key role in brokering an agreement between Hamas and Israel that led to the temporary truce in November 2023, during which Israel had also released Palestinian prisoners — a majority of whom were children and women.
After launching its unprecedented attack against Israel on October 7, 2023, the Hamas had taken about 240 hostages.
Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed as a result of the attack.
Meanwhile, in the first two weeks of January, humanitarian agencies planned 29 missions to deliver lifesaving supplies to areas to the north of Wadi Gaza, according to the UN.
Only seven of the 29 (24 per cent) were accomplished, either fully or partially.
The remainder of the missions were denied access by the Israeli authorities.