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Hamas official says ceasefire needed before hostages can be freed

The PalestinianHamasgroup that controls Gaza cannot releasehostagesseized during its attack on Israel until aceasefireis agreed, the Russian newspaper Kommersant quoted a member of aHamasdelegation visiting Moscow assaying.

It quoted Abu Hamid assayingHamasneededtime to locate all of those who had been taken from Israel to Gaza by various Palestinian factions in aHamasattack on Oct. 7.

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

Kommersant quoted him assayinga calm environment wasneededto complete this task.Hamassaid on Thursday around 50 of thehostageshad been killed in Israeli air strikes.

Israel has urged Russia to expel the visitingHamasdelegation, calling their invitation to Moscow “deplorable”.

Russia has ties to all the key players in the Middle East, including Israel, Iran, Syria, the Palestinian Authority andHamas.

It has repeatedly blamed the current crisis on a failure of US diplomacy, and called for aceasefirebetween Israel andHamasand the resumption of talks aimed at finding a peace settlement.

Separately, TASS news agency reported on Friday that another senior member of theHamasdelegation in Moscow, Abu Marzouk, had held talks with Iran’s deputy foreign minister Ali Baghiri Kani, who is also visiting the Russian capital.

The two discussed efforts to secure aceasefirein Gaza and deliver humanitarian aid to its residents, and Baghiri Kani also reaffirmed Tehran’s strong support for the Palestinian cause, TASS said, citing Iranian embassy sources in Moscow.

(Published 27 October 2023, 09:33 IST)

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