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In Turkey, Qatar defense chief says no plans to expel Hamas

The Qatari minister’s remarks came in response to increasing reports that the Gulf state is considering shuttering Hamas’ political headquarters in Doha.
Hamas' political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh addresses supporters during a rally in solidarity with the Palestinians outside Qatar's Imam Muhammad Abdel-Wahhab Mosque in the capital Doha on May 15, 2021. - Qatar's Foreign Minister hosted the political chief of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and called for an end to Israel's bombardment of Gaza, state media said. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP) (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

ANKARA — Qatari Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah said on Friday that his country has no intention of ejecting Hamas’ political headquarters.

Moving the militant group’s Doha-based political bureau is “not something being considered,” Attiyah, who also serves as Qatar's deputy prime minister, was quoted as saying by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu News Agency. “It’s not that we want Hamas to be only in Qatar, but we want to facilitate dialogue between our interlocutors through Hamas’s office,” he added. 

Attiyah's remarks, made during an event at Istanbul’s Bogazici University, came in response to reports that the United States is pressuring Doha to expel the political leaders of the militant group. In addition to political chief Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas cofounder Mahmoud al-Zahar and former political chief Khaled Mashal have been based in Doha for over a decade. The Palestinian group established its external headquarters in Doha in 2012. 

Qatar and Egypt have been mediating between Israel and Hamas to achieve a cease-fire. However, since the Gaza war, Doha has faced criticism from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US lawmakers for hosting the group. 

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