The Palestinian resistance group captured at least 200 Israelis, including members of the occupation forces, and a number of western citizens during the Al Aqsa Flood operation.
Hamas has released two American captives on Friday following Qatari mediation “as proof of the United States’ false allegations”, a spokesperson of the Al-Qassam Brigades confirmed, as per an Al Jazeera report.
“In response to Qatari efforts, we released two American detainees for humanitarian reasons,” an official from the Palestinian resistance group said.
The official added: “We released the two American detainees to prove to the American people and the world that the allegations made by [Joe] Biden and his administration are false allegations.”
The identities of the captives have not yet been disclosed, however a Reuters report said the two were “mother and daughter”.
The major development comes as Qatar and other regional and world powers have mobilised in a bid to de-escalate mounting tensions since the beginning of the Israeli war on Gaza on 7 October.
Israel declared war on the Strip in response to ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’, an unprecedented attack on Israel carried out by the Al-Qassam Brigades—Hamas’ armed wing. The historic operation saw the Palestinian resistance group break out from the besieged Gaza Strip and into occupied areas through air, land and sea attacks.
The resistance group captured at least 200 Israelis, including members of the occupation forces, and a number of western citizens.
Earlier this week, reports said the US immediately reached out to Qatar, the host of a Hamas political bureau, in order to secure the release of the captives in the aftermath of the attack.
The matter was also discussed between Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the latter’s visit to Doha last week.
Speaking alongside Sheikh Mohammed at the time, Blinken said the US is “working intensively” with the Gulf state in order to secure the release of the detainees.
The release of the Americans also comes following a meeting on Thursday between Sheikh Mohammed and the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly in Doha.
The issue was also discussed over the phone on Tuesday between UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. Sheikh Tamim and Sunak met in Saudi Arabia on Friday on the sidelines of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.
“We welcomed progress on opening up humanitarian access to Gaza. We will continue to work together to help secure the release of hostages and prevent the escalation of violence in the region,” Sunak said.
Doha has built a reputation of successful mediation over the years, helping world powers release hostages and prisoners globally. Last month, Qatar managed to secure a milestone US-Iran prisoner swap. On Sunday, the Gulf state also facilitated the repatriation of four Ukrainian children from Russia, at Ukraine’s request.
Qatar has been at the forefront of de-escalation efforts since the start of the deadly Israeli aggression on Gaza. Officials in Doha have since been in close contact with key international partners— namely the US, the UK, Iran, Turkiye, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, among others—in an effort to end the Israeli escalations in Gaza.
Occupation forces have killed at least 4,137 Palestinians, including more than 1,500 children, since declaring war on October 7.