Hamas Chief in Secret Meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister

By Nurat Uthman

Hamas’s Qatar-based chief Ismail Haniyeh has held a meeting with the Turkish foreign minister, diplomatic sources said Sunday, in the first official contact between the two for more than three months.

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met with Haniyeh on Saturday in Turkey, the sources said

Hamas militants seized about 250 hostages when they launched unprecedented attacks in Israel on October 7 and the release of the remaining captives, along with the establishment of “a ceasefire as quickly as possible”, were the main topic of discussions, according to one of the sources.

The source said that during the meeting, the two sides also discussed “increasing humanitarian aid… and a two-state solution for a permanent peace”.

Fidan and Haniyeh last had official contact in a phone call on October 16.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in response to the Islamist group’s October attacks that resulted in the deaths of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Its relentless bombardment and ground offensive have killed at least 24,927 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in the territory.

Israel says around 132 hostages remain in Gaza, of whom at least 27 are believed to have been killed, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Istanbul served as a base for Hamas political leaders before the October 7 attacks. Turkey asked the Hamas chiefs to leave after some were captured on video celebrating the deadliest attack in Israel’s history.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has since turned into one of the Muslim world’s harshest critics of the scale of death and destruction happening in Gaza.

Erdogan has compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler and accused the United States of sponsoring the “genocide” of Palestinians.

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