Qatar says Netanyahu's reported criticism undermines Gaza mediation

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Qatar said it was "appalled" by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's alleged remarks on its mediation role in the Gaza war after he called the Gulf state "problematic" in a leaked recording.

"We are appalled by the alleged remarks attributed to the Israeli Prime Minister in various media reports about Qatar's mediation role," said Qatar's foreign ministry spokesperson, Majed Al Ansari.

"If the reported remarks are found to be true, the Israeli PM would only be obstructing and undermining the mediation process... instead of prioritising saving innocent lives, including Israeli hostages," he wrote.

In a leaked recording from a meeting with hostage families that aired on Israel's Channel 12 news on Tuesday, Netanyahu called Qatar "problematic".

An Israeli government spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on whether the leaked recording was authentic.

Qatar has served as the main mediator between Hamas and Israeli officials in the conflict, securing a seven-day pause in fighting last November.

It comes as Israeli forces continue to bombard areas around two hospitals - Nasser and Al-Amal - in Gaza's main southern city Khan Younis, pinning down large numbers of displaced people.

Gaza health officials said at least 50 Palestinians had been killed in Khan Younis in the past 24 hours, taking to the total death toll in Gaza to 25,700 since the conflict broke out in October.

The city is now encircled by Israeli armoured forces and under almost non-stop aerial and ground fire, residents say.

Most of the Gaza Strip's 2.3 million population is now squeezed into Khan Younis and towns just north and south of it, after being driven out of its northern half earlier in Israel's blitz of the Hamas-ruled territory, now in its fourth month.

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