US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Doha later this week to discuss Hamas with Qatari leaders amid a devastating war between Israel and the militant group.
“Tomorrow, Secretary Blinken will travel to Qatar to meet with senior officials there,” a US official said Thursday.
A source with knowledge of the visit told AFP that Blinken’s discussions would “focus on joint Qatari-US efforts to secure the release of hostages and de-escalate”.
Qatar, which hosts a political bureau for Hamas in Doha and has provided millions of dollars in financial aid to Gaza, has been linked to mediation efforts for a prisoner exchange between the Palestinian militant group and Israel.
Late last month, Qatar and Egypt brokered a deal between Hamas and Israel which saw the reopening of border crossings allowing Palestinian labourers from Gaza to return to work in Israel.
Blinken was in Tel Aviv on Thursday, where he affirmed that the United States would “always” support Israel and condemned Hamas.
Militants of the Palestinian Islamist group killed more than 1,200 civilians, soldiers and foreigners in Israel, and took about 150 hostages in a shock cross-border attack launched on Saturday.
Israel has responded by pounding Gaza with air strikes and artillery bombardments that have killed more than 1,350 people, most of them civilians, since Saturday.