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Kidnapped Qatari royals released after 18 months

After several months of complex negotiations, 26 Qatari hostages were released, among them are about 11 members of the Qatari Royal Family. They were kidnapped a year and a half ago during a hunting party near the border with Saudi Arabia.

It is said that among the terms of their release are deals on the release of political prisoners and the evacuation of Syrians from war zones. It is unclear who is responsible for the kidnapping; nobody has ever claimed responsibility. There are rumours that the kidnappers are Shiite militants from Iraq. The evacuations demanded during the negotiations began last week, but was interrupted by an attack on a bus convoy that claimed over 100 lives.

The hostages were released in Baghdad and were flown to Qatar on a private jet.

The current ruler or Emir of Qatar is Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. He became Emir of Qatar on 25 June 2013 after his father’s abdication. The Emir has three wives and nine children, the youngest being born in October 2015. His first wife is also his first cousin. The Emir was educated at Sherborne School in Dorset and Harrow School. He then attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, from which he graduated in 1998. After graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Qatar Armed Forces. He became the heir apparent to the Qatari throne on 5 August 2003, when his elder brother Sheikh Jassim renounced his claim to the title.

He was the first ruler, in a succession of the last three Qatari rulers from the Al Thani family, to ascend to power without resorting to a coup. According to The Economist, of his previous Emirs on the throne, “One played too much, the other prayed too much.”

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