Hamas says all remaining hostages are 'Israeli', cannot release them until ceasefire

Hamas says all remaining hostages are 'Israeli', cannot release them until ceasefire
Hamas says that it views all the remaining hostages it holds as 'Israeli', no matter what additional nationalities they hold, and cannot release them until there is a ceasefire.
3 min read
28 October, 2023
Musa Abu Marzouk said that Hamas was considering all the hostages it held as Israelis [Getty]

Hamas officials have said that the group will not be able to release any Israeli hostages until a ceasefire is in place.

Senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk told Russian state news agency RIA that Russia, the United States, France, Spain, Italy and many others had appealed for the release of their nationals.

However, he said that the group viewed all its hostages as Israelis, regardless of whatever additional nationality they held, and could not release any of them until Israel agreed to a ceasefire.

"All those captured, for us, are Israelis, although there is an appeal to their original citizenship in the hope this will save them," Abu Marzouk was quoted by Russian media as saying.

He added that Hamas was more open to Russia's request, saying it viewed it "more positively and attentively than the others, given the character of our relations with Russia".

Another Hamas official, named as Abu Hamid, was quoted in Russia's Kommersant newspaper on Friday saying that hostages that were taken during the Hamas-led ground assault into Israel on 7 October were captured by numerous Palestinian factions.

According to Israeli officials, 229 hostages were taken and 1,400 people were killed during the assault.

"We need time to find them in the Gaza Strip and then release them" Abu Hamid added.

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The comments from Hamas officials came shortly before Israel cut off communications to the besieged Gaza Strip while continuing its ferocious and indiscriminate bombardment of the territory.

7,703 people have been killed in Gaza, including 3,195 children, according to Palestinian Ministry of Health figures released on Saturday.

Hostage and ceasefire negotiations between Hamas and Israel, under Qatari mediation, were reported to be "progressing and at an advanced stage" according to Al Jazeera.

Qatar's ambassador to the UN said that "we renew our calls for de-escalation, a full ceasefire, and the release of all prisoners – particularly civilians. We reaffirm our condemnation of all forms of targeting civilians, particularly women and children."

Hamas has so far released four civilian hostages since October 7, including two US citizens and two elderly Israelis, citing humanitarian reasons.

Hamas also stated that 50 Israeli hostages had been killed as a result of Israeli airstrikes.

International calls for a ceasefire are growing as the situation in the Gaza Strip deteriorates amidst Israel's ongoing bombardment of the territory.

This includes the European Union whose European Council agreed to a Spanish initiative to ensure a bloc-wide policy of demanding a ceasefire to allow for the entry of humanitarian aid, much of which is stuck in Egypt awaiting entry into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing.

The UN has warned that "many more [people] will die" as a result of the ongoing bombardment and siege.

(Reuters contributed to this report)