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Qatar and Egypt Leaders Meet to Broker Peace in Gaza

The leaders of Qatar and Egypt met in Cairo on Friday, both hoping to mediate a de-escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip. The two leaders discussed “intensified efforts to achieve a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the delivery of sufficient quantities of aid for its 2.3 million besieged residents,” according to a statement from Sisi’s office. The meeting was the first between Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Sisi since Qatari officials lifted a boycott of Egypt in 2015. The two countries share many regional concerns.

Al Thani arrived at Cairo’s airport to a rousing welcome, a courtesy usually reserved for heavyweight allies, as Egyptian and Qatari flags fluttered over the tarmac. He was met by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a gesture of recognition that underscores the high importance placed on the relationship between the two countries.

The talks came amid a growing outrage in the Arab world over Israel’s unrelenting bombing of Gaza, which has killed more than 5,000 Palestinians and wounded thousands more in its almost three-week campaign. During the meeting, al-Sisi and Sheikh Tamim discussed the need to “stop the war, ensure humanitarian relief is delivered, and return the prisoners,” the statement said.

Both men expressed their deep concern over the “deteriorating humanitarian situation” in Gaza, where the death toll is surging and food supplies are running low. They also agreed that “it is untenable for Israel to be given an unconditional green light and free license to kill,” the statement said.

Qatar has promised millions in cash to help Gaza’s civil servants and ease the dire conditions for civilians. Public broadcaster Israel TV on Thursday showed suitcases filled with money being brought into Gaza through Israel’s Beit Hanoun crossing, known as Erez. It is a policy that has irked critics inside Israel, who see it as a sign of bowing to Hamas pressure.

But he also cautioned against “resorting to extremist measures that could push the situation into an even more dangerous phase.” Earlier, a spokesman for Hamas’ military wing denied that the group had directed the attack against Israel. The spokesman, Abu Mohammed, called on Israel to end its “siege” of Gaza and to stop attacking civilians.

The talks between the two leaders also addressed economic issues, the statement added, including increased Qatari investments in Egypt’s battered economy. The spokesman, referring to Egypt’s ongoing political turmoil, also warned that instability there could have severe consequences for the entire region. The meeting comes a day after Hamas released the mother and daughter of an Israeli soldier kidnapped by the group in an Oct. 7 attack that triggered Israel’s massive retaliation against Gaza. The two women, Judith and Natalie Raanan, were flown out of Gaza to Egypt on Friday. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised Qatar for helping secure their release in a post on social media platform X.

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