Medicine for Palestinians, Israeli hostages bound for Gaza after night of deadly strikes

Qatari foreign ministry spokesman says the medicine and aid will leave Doha for the Egyptian city of El Arish before being transported to the Gaza Strip

By AFP

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Photo: Reuters file
Photo: Reuters file

Published: Wed 17 Jan 2024, 9:59 AM

Deliveries of medicine for Palestinian civilians and Israeli hostages were expected to start arriving in Gaza on Wednesday under a deal mediated by Qatar and France, after a night of deadly bombardments in the territory's south.

In a statement to the official Qatar News Agency (QNA), Doha on Tuesday announced a deal "between Israel and (Hamas), where medicine along with other humanitarian aid is to be delivered to civilians in Gaza... in exchange for delivering medication needed for Israeli captives in Gaza".

Qatari foreign ministry spokesman Majid Al Ansari told QNA the medicine and aid would leave Doha on Wednesday for the Egyptian city of El Arish before being transported to the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office confirmed the deal.

Forty-five hostages are expected to receive medication under the agreement, according to the French presidency.

After the drugs arrive at a hospital in the southern Gaza border town of Rafah on Wednesday, it said, they will be received by the International Committee of the Red Cross, divided into batches and immediately transferred to the hostages.

Hamas released dozens of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel during a November ceasefire mediated by Qatar, which hosts the group's political office.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday he was "hopeful" that Qatar-brokered talks could lead to another such deal "soon".

At least 24,285 Palestinians, about 70 percent of them women and children, have been killed in Gaza by Israeli bombardments and ground operations since Hamas's unprecedented October attack.

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