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26 Oct, 2023 18:01

Hamas has offered to free hostages – Iranian FM

Civilian captives could be transferred to Iran with Turkish and Qatari help, according to media reports
Hamas has offered to free hostages – Iranian FM

The Palestinian militant group Hamas is willing to release non-combatants it has held captive since October 7, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian revealed on Thursday.

“According to our negotiations, Hamas is ready to release civilian prisoners,” Amir-Abdollahian told the UN General Assembly, as cited by The National, an UAE-based outlet. 

“On the other hand, the world should support the release of 6,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons,” he added.

The Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen reported that Hamas would be willing to work with Türkiye and Qatar to facilitate the transfer of hostages into Iranian custody. It was not clear whether this release would be unilateral or in exchange for the jailed Palestinians.

Amir-Abdollahian’s announcement comes just hours after his deputy, Ali Bagheri, held talks with Russian counterparts in Moscow, which focused on the “need for a ceasefire in and around the Gaza Strip and the prompt provision of humanitarian aid to the affected Palestinian population,” according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. 

Russia’s special envoy for the Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov, and Bagheri agreed to “closely coordinate efforts to stabilize the situation” in the region, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, a high-ranking Hamas delegation was also in Moscow to discuss the hostage issue. Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior member of the group’s political council, led the team that discussed the release of hostages and evacuation of Russian and other foreign nationals from Gaza.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed the visits by Marzouk and Bagheri at the regular press briefing on Thursday, promising “additional information” once it is available.

Israel has denounced the Hamas mission to Moscow and demanded Russia immediately expel them.

Hamas took more than 200 captives and killed up to 1,400 Israelis during the October 7 incursion into Israel. The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by declaring war on the group and launching air and artillery strikes on Gaza. According to Hamas, 50 hostages have been killed by Israeli strikes so far, along with more than 7,000 Palestinians.

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