Qatar says location of Hamas leader thought to have planned Oct. 7 attack is unknown

Qatar says location of Hamas leader thought to have planned Oct. 7 attack is unknown

Qatar’s prime minister said Sunday that the location of the Hamas leader believed to have planned the Oct. 7 attack in Israel is currently unknown, saying that information was likely only known by those close to him.

CBS’s Margaret Brennan asked Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani on Sunday if he knew where Hamas commander Yahya Sinwar, who is thought to have planned the attack on Israel, is currently located.

“Well, I don’t think that this information is available with anyone except you know, the people who are close to him,” al-Thani responded. “And this is information really that doesn’t relate much to what we are doing right now and on the ongoing negotiations.”

Al-Thani was referring to negotiations related to the release of dozens of hostages in recent days, an agreement he helped broker with U.S. and Israeli officials, including President Biden.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have said that it will continue to pursue Sinwar in the wake of the attacks. The Oct. 7 attack left more than 1,400 Israelis dead and resulted in about 240 Israeli and foreign nationals taken hostage by the militants.

Al-Thani emphasized that Qatar’s communication with the militant group has been “very exclusive to the political wing” of Hamas, not its military arm. He reiterated that Qatar has and still does not “deal directly with” the military wing of Hamas, a group that the United States designates as a terrorist organization.

Qatar has been at the center of negotiations for the four-day truce and the hostage deal struck between Hamas and Israel last week, thanks to which 50 hostages are expected to be released. Brennan asked al-Thani about calls by some U.S. Republicans who are asking Qatar to turn over the Hamas political leaders they are in communication with and whether they would remain in Qatar.

Al-Thani responded that his country has a “solid relationship” with the United States.

“[O]ur relation with U.S. is a very solid relationship and alliance that being established throughout the decades, we’ve been working together very closely in ensuring peace and stability in the region. And in several occasions, Qatar has been always stepping up to this partnership,” he said.

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