Hamas Claims it Doesn’t Know Locations of Hostages

3/6/24 By Tim Buck



A senior Hamas official claims that the terror group does not know where all of the remaining Israeli hostages are being held, and whether they are alive or not, as the latest round of hostage deal negotiations ended without a breakthrough.

Israel has demanded that Hamas produce a list of which hostages are still alive as a condition for the continuation of negotiations regarding who would be released in the truce deal.

After Hamas refused, Israel decided not to send a delegation to the latest round of talks in the Egyptian capital of Cairo.

Former Hamas politician Bassem Naim told Reuters on Tuesday that it was impossible to compile a list without a ceasefire first, claiming that Hamas had presented its position in Cairo and was now awaiting a response from Israel.

During an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP) the day before, Naim claimed that Hamas didn’t know which hostages were still alive.

Naim said in a BBC interview that the hostages “are in different areas with different groups” and Hamas representatives “have asked for a ceasefire to collect that data.” He further asserted that information relating to the hostages was “valuable” and couldn’t be released “for free.”

Hamas claimed on Friday that seven hostages had been killed by Israeli bombardment but provided only three names: Gershon Peri (79), Yoram Metzger (80), and Amiram Cooper (85).

In the past, the terrorist group organization has claimed hostages were killed but were later found to be alive, as happened in the case of Hannah Katzir.

Israel rejected Hamas’ claims that it was responsible for the standstill in negotiations.

“Israel is making every effort to reach an agreement. We are awaiting a response from Hamas,” an Israeli official said, according to the Times of Israel.

After the last round of talks on Tuesday, a delegation of Hamas representatives will remain in Cairo for another day to keep the talks going at the request of the Egyptian and Qatari mediators, according to a Reuters report.

Negotiations in Cairo had been touted as the last chance for a breakthrough before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins on Sunday.

Israel is increasingly convinced that Hamas leadership is more interested in an escalation of tensions during Ramadan as opposed to a ceasefire, a senior Israeli official said this week.

“There is a clear picture here: Sinwar made a decision that, in Ramadan, he wants chaos and bloodshed instead of humanitarian aid, peace and a ceasefire for his population,” the official added.
War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, who is currently visiting the United States Capitol, has repeatedly stated that if there is no deal, the IDF will enter Rafah, even during Ramadan.