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Qatar criticises Israel's Netanyahu over pressure on Hamas to release hostages

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Conflict mediator Qatar on Monday criticised comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which it said he asked the Gulf state to pressure Hamas into freeing Israeli hostages, describing them as a new attempt to prolong the Gaza war.

Majed Al-Ansari

Conflict mediator Qatar on Monday criticised comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which it said he asked the Gulf state to pressure Hamas into freeing Israeli hostages, describing them as a new attempt to prolong the Gaza war.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at the weekend that the pattern of negotiations for a framework ceasefire deal for the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza was "not very promising" in recent days.

"The Israeli Prime Minister's recent statements in which he calls on Qatar to pressure Hamas into releasing the (Israeli) hostages are nothing but a new attempt by him to delay and prolong the war for reasons that have become clear to everyone," Qatar's foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari posted in a statement on social media platform X.

It was unclear what comments from Netanyahu the Qatari statement was referring to.

Sheikh Mohammed, who is also foreign minister, said on Saturday he could not give details of talks but as with past deals there were two elements: humanitarian conditions in Gaza and the number of Palestinians to be released for Israeli hostages.

Reporting by Jana Choukeir

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