UTV

Release of Israeli captives hinges on ceasefire in Gaza: Hamas official

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has tied the release of Israeli captives in the Gaza Strip to a ceasefire halting the occupying regime’s relentless bombardment of the besieged territory after Operation al-Aqsa Storm, the largest military campaign by resistance groups against the illegal entity in decades.

The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported the development on Friday, quoting a member of a Hamas delegation visiting Moscow as saying that time was needed to locate all the Israeli settlers and soldiers who had been taken captive by Palestinian resistance factions in the surprise attack led by Hamas on October 7.

“They seized dozens of people, most of them civilians, and we need time to find them in the Gaza Strip and then release them,” Abu Hamid said.

Hamid said Hamas, which has so far freed four captives in good faith, had made clear it intended to release “civilian prisoners.”

But this required a “calm environment,” he added, repeating an assertion that Israeli bombing had already killed 50 of those captives held in Gaza.

On October 7, Hamas-led Palestinian resistance groups launched the surprise offensive in response to the occupying regime’s intensified crimes against the Palestinian people.

Since then, Israel has pressed ahead with an incessant bombardment of Gaza. The death toll in Gaza since the start of Israeli aggression has reached over 7,400 with more than 20,500 wounded.

Tel Aviv has also blocked water, food, and electricity to Gaza, plunging the besieged territory into a humanitarian crisis.

Speculations are abundant that the Israeli regime is bracing for an imminent ground invasion of the coastal sliver in defiance of the international community’s unanimous calls to stall its war machine and put an end to its heinous atrocities in Palestinian territories.

Israeli captives to be freed after ceasefire: Qatar

In a related development, Mohammed al-Khelaifi, an advisor to Qatar’s foreign minister, was quoted by Russia’s RT Arabic television news network as saying that all civilian prisoners held by Hamas may be released within days if the Israeli war on Gaza stops.

Khelaifi, who is one of the senior negotiators on the issue of Israeli prisoners with Hamas, said, “Negotiations are difficult, and with the increase in violence and continued daily bombing, our mission has become more difficult, but progress is being made.”

Expressing optimism about making progress in the issue of prisoners, the Qatari official added, “Our goal is the release of all civilian prisoners, and this is what we are working on and want to achieve. We are still optimistic, we are doing our best and we hope to be able to reach this goal in the coming days.”

Khelaifi said the mediation efforts were subject to a ceasefire and underlined that any escalation of tension would make the peace mission more difficult.

The advisor to Qatar’s foreign minister also expressed concern about the paucity of aid reaching Gaza and said, “People in Gaza need humanitarian aid more than ever.”

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