Hamas cannot release the hostages it is holding in Gaza until the Israeli military stops its bombing campaign against the Palestinian enclave, Basem Naim, a member of the militant group’s political bureau, told RT during his delegation’s visit to Moscow this week.
Naim said Hamas could not collect necessary information on the identities of hostages held at various sites scattered around the enclave in the face of constant Israeli air raids and a blockade that has seen all communications inside Gaza cut off.
“The captured people are [held] in different places by different groups at different sites,” he said, adding that “we [have] always called for a ceasefire to have a possibility to collect the needed information” and compile a detailed list of the hostages. The Hamas official also claimed that some people said to be in the group’s custody “are not in the Gaza Strip.”
Naim confirmed that the organization receives questions about various people potentially taken hostage during the October 7 attack and “conveys” these requests to “the people on the ground.”
He said Hamas had been ready to release all the people taken hostage from day one, but could only do so when “feasible, including from a security point of view.” He did not elaborate on the exact requirements that would need to be met for releasing the hostages.
The official stated that the militants “did their best” to keep the hostages alive, while claiming that around 50 of them might have been killed in Israeli bombardments. “They’ve bombed thousands of houses without previous warning,” he added, referring to the Israeli military.