Israel has described as “propaganda” a claim by Hamas that the militant group had wanted to release two more hostages on humanitarian grounds but that Israel declined to receive them.
JERUSALEM – Israel on Saturday described as “propaganda” a claim by Hamas that the militant group had wanted to release two more hostages on humanitarian grounds but that Israel declined to receive them.
Abu Ubaida, spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing, said it informed Qatar of the group’s intention to release the two additional people on Friday, the same day it freed Americans Judith Tai Ranaan and her daughter Natalie.
In a later statement, Abu Ubaida said Hamas was ready to free the two people on Sunday “using the same procedures” involved in the release of Judith and Natalie.
The Palestinian group captured around 210 people during its deadly assault in southern Israel on October 7. Qatar, which helped mediate Friday’s release, had no immediate comment.
In a brief statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said: “We will not refer to false propaganda by Hamas.”
The statement added: “We will continue to act in every way to return all the kidnapped and missing people home.”
Israel meanwhile has confirmed that 212 people are being held hostage in Gaza, a military spokesperson said on Sunday, adding that Israeli strikes overnight killed dozens of Palestinian fighters, including the deputy chief of Hamas rocket forces.
On the northern front, Israel has been attacking fighters trying to fire missiles in across the Lebanese border and struck a site in Lebanon from where a missile was fired at an Israeli aircraft, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a briefing.