In the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, a senior Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, has stated that the release of civilian hostages in Gaza is contingent upon certain conditions being met by Israel.
Meshaal, a key negotiator for the organization, suggested that over 200 hostages held by Hamas could be freed if Israel reduces the intensity of its bombing campaign in Gaza. He mentioned that international mediators, such as Qatar, Egypt, and other Arab countries, could facilitate the release of hostages once the aggression stops.
Meshaal emphasized the need for the right conditions to allow these hostages to be released. He also expressed concern about the intensity of Israel’s air offensive, stating that they aim to halt the random bombardments and destruction, which would enable the release of hostages.
However, he did not specify the nationalities of the hostages, and he did not confirm whether Hamas would cease hostage negotiations entirely if Israel proceeds with a ground invasion of Gaza.
So far, only two hostages have been released by Hamas. Khaled Meshaal holds significant influence within Hamas, having survived an Israeli assassination attempt almost three decades ago.
In response to the hostage situation, Israel has conducted air strikes in Gaza, resulting in casualties. The conflict has escalated, with Israeli tanks and troops positioned near the Gaza perimeter, indicating the potential for a ground invasion. Israel has made it clear that it will maintain its full blockade of Gaza until its hostages are freed.
Hamas claims to hold approximately 200 hostages, with another 50 held by other armed groups in the enclave. The group alleges that more than 20 hostages have been killed by Israeli air strikes but has not provided further details. The situation remains fluid and complex, with ongoing negotiations and military actions.