'All hostages in Gaza will be released if'... Hamas lays down conditions to free civilians held captive since October 7
Hamas claims to release all the hostages held by them in Gaza if the right conditions are met.
In an interview with SkyNews, Khaled Meshaal, the key negotiator over the fate of more than 200 hostages held by Hamas, said it would let go of people in their captivity if Israel reduces the intensity of bombing Gaza.
“Let them stop this aggression and you will find the mediators like Qatar and Egypt and some Arab countries and others will find a way to have them released and we’ll send them to their homes,” Meshaal, who is also a powerful figure within Hamas, said.
‘Need right conditions to release hostages’
Meshaal further said the release of hostages cannot happen with Israel’s air offensive remaining so intense.
“We want to stop the random bombardments, the total destruction, the genocide so that the al Qassam soldiers can take them from their places and hand them to the Red Cross or whoever,” he said.
“We need the right conditions to allow them to be released,” Meshaal said.
Hamas’ condition for releasing hostages
Meshaal said the exit can be in two stages. “First regarding this current conflict, this criminal war on Gaza the bombardment and aggression on Gaza should stop, and Israel should cease forcefully removing the people of Gaza from the northern parts to the southern.”
He further said all the crossing points should be opened and aid should be allowed to enter.
Meshaal said there was even now the opportunity to negotiate with Israel over peace.
“If this happens and there is a ceasefire we come to the big question what was the root cause of what happened and we will say it’s the occupation,” he said.
“So, Israel should withdraw from all occupied lands and we will have a window of opportunity and real opportunity, Meshaal said.
Meshaal further claimed that 22 hostages have died in Israeli airstrikes since the Israel-Hamas war began following the October 7 onslaught by the Palestinian terrorist group.
He also said Hamas would not say which countries those deceased hostages were but claimed that many of them were Israelis.
Hamas has so far released only two hostages.
Meshaal even claimed that it never planned on killing civilians, which was contrary to what it did in its surprise and unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7.
As many as 1,400 people were murdered in Israel during the unprecedented assault, mostly civilians slaughtered in their homes or at an outdoor music festival, as well as soldiers in bases near the border.
Israel fighters said Hamas targeted and deliberately killed many civilians in kibbutzes and the music festival near Gaza where 250 unarmed young people are reported to have been killed.
At least 224 people, including the elderly, women and children, were abducted to Gaza, in the bloodiest and deadliest attack in Israeli history.
Talking about deaths of civilians Meshaal alleged, "If there was any killing, this was definitely not intended. Definitely."
He denied claims from Israel that Hamas had adopted new more brutal tactics.
"There is no change in Hamas's strategy and what happened on 7 October is completely within Hamas's strategy. The ones who kill women and children, mothers and fathers are Israelis," the Hamas leader said.
Iran not involved in Israel attacks
Meshaal also alleged that the October 7 attacks were entirely the work of Hamas, despite claims Iran was involved in their planning and training.
"What happened on October 7 is a purely Palestinian Hamas decision. Hezbollah, Iran, Turkey are required to stand shoulder to shoulder but everybody takes their own decision," he said.