US and Israeli intelligence chiefs visit Qatar

2023-11-28 22:10:55, Kosova & Bota CNA

US and Israeli intelligence chiefs visit Qatar

The head of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Burns, and the head of the Israeli Intelligence Agency (Mossad), David Barnea, met on Tuesday in Doha with the prime minister of Qatar. The meeting was aimed at further steps after the two-day extension of the ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, a source told the Reuters agency.

Likewise, according to the same source, the meeting will serve "to mark further progress and start discussions about the next phase of a possible agreement."

The outcome of the talks, which were attended by Egyptian officials, remains unclear, the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added.

Meanwhile, a US official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said CIA Director William Burns was in Doha "for meetings related to the Israel-Hamas conflict, including discussions on the hostage issue." The official did not provide further details.

CIA chief William Burns and Mossad chief David Barnea's meeting with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani comes a day after Doha announced a two-day extension of the Gaza ceasefire agreement that had been expected to expire on Monday after four days.

Qatar, home to several political leaders of Hamas, has led negotiations between the Palestinian militant group and Israel.

The ceasefire has brought the first pause in seven weeks of fighting in the Gaza Strip, during which Israel carried out heavy bombing of the territory in response to a violent attack on October 7 by the Hamas militant group. During the attack, about 1,200 Israelis were killed and another 240 were taken hostage.

Israel says its goal is the destruction of Hamas, which has ruled Gaza for many years.

According to the health authorities in this region, as a result of the Israeli bombings, more than 15 thousand people have been killed so far, about 40% of whom are children.

Mr. Barnea and Mr. Burns also visited Qatar on November 9 and met with the country's prime minister.

During the first four days of the ceasefire, Hamas fighters freed 50 Israeli women and children who had been taken hostage. In exchange, Israel released 150 Palestinians, all women and teenagers, from its prisons.

In the remaining two days of the ceasefire, Hamas has agreed to release 10 Israeli women and children each day.

So far, there is no sign that Hamas is willing to release any male Israeli hostages or military personnel./ VOA

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