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Turkish FM meets with Hamas leader in Qatar

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met with Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, on the sidelines of a Turkey-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting in Doha on Sunday, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

The ministry announced the meeting on X but did not provide further details. The meeting took place during the Sixth Ministerial Meeting of the GCC High-Level Strategic Dialogue.

The visit follows President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s meeting with Haniyeh in İstanbul in April.

Erdoğan, a vocal critic of Israel’s military campaign in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza following Hamas’s unprecedented attack on October 7, has often expressed support for the Palestinian group as defenders of their homeland.

The October 7 attack on Israel resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people. Militants also seized some 250 hostages, less than half of whom Israel estimates remain in Gaza, including 36 the military says are dead.

Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union, among others.

The Gaza Health Ministry said Sunday that 37,084 had been killed by the Israeli military and 84,494 people injured since October 7. The death toll rose after a massacre in the Al-Nusairat refugee camp in which Israeli forces slayed at least 274 Palestinians and caused 698 injuries, according to the ministry.

Those killed during Israel’s attack included at least 64 children, 57 women and 37 people considered elderly, Al Jazeera reported. On top of that, the United Nations Children’s Fund said Sunday that 90 percent of children in Gaza are experiencing “severe food poverty.”

Israeli forces attacked the refugee camp to rescue four Israeli hostages captured by Hamas. The Israeli operation led to the death of three other hostages, Hamas said Sunday.

Turkey condemned Israel’s raid on the Al-Nusairat refugee camp. The Turkish Foreign Ministry’s statement denounced the attack and called on international bodies, particularly the United Nations Security Council, to fulfill their responsibilities in maintaining peace and security.

Last week Spain became the first European country to ask a United Nations court for permission to join South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza.

South Africa filed its case with the International Court of Justice late last year. It alleged that Israel was breaching the genocide convention in its military assault that has laid waste to large swaths of Gaza.

The court has ordered Israel to immediately halt its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah but stopped short of ordering a cease-fire for the enclave. Israel has not complied and shows no sign of doing so.

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