Hamas leaders, Qatar

Hamas leaders forced to relocate

The leadership of Hamas have been reportedly kicked out of Qatar amid pressure for a ceasefire deal in Gaza. 

Hamas leadership (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib /Flash90)

The leadership of Hamas is reportedly considering a move from Qatar to Iraq, as per a report in The National on Monday. The Iraqi government sanctioned this relocation last month, with Iran purportedly taking on the responsibility of safeguarding Hamas leaders, offices, and personnel in Baghdad.

This decision follows discussions involving Hamas's political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, and representatives from the Iraqi and Iranian governments, according to sources cited by The National. A senior Iraqi MP and a leader of a political party closely aligned with an Iran-backed armed group confirmed these talks.

Despite divisions among Iraqi political groups—particularly concerns from Kurds and some Sunnis about potential rifts with the United States—the Iraqi government's stance to host Hamas remains unchanged, as stated by the senior Iraqi MP. Baghdad has expressed readiness to accommodate Hamas with a prominent presence in Iraq.

While no specific timeline has been set, Hamas recently inaugurated a political office in Baghdad under the leadership of senior official Mohammed Al Hafy, with plans to establish a media office soon, as reported.

The potential move comes amid stalled ceasefire negotiations for Gaza, with US, Egyptian, and Qatari mediation efforts. Hamas has reportedly faced pressure from Qatar to accept US ceasefire proposals, including terms related to releasing Israeli hostages and Palestinian detainees. Threats of expulsion and punitive measures, such as asset freezes, have reportedly been conveyed to Hamas officials during recent discussions in Doha involving Qatari and Egyptian mediators following a visit by CIA Director William Burns.

The US, Egypt, and Qatar have been actively pursuing a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, amid ongoing conflict dynamics since Hamas's attack on southern Israel on October 7th 2023.

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