Iran says Hamas ready to release hostages if Israel stops air strikes as at least 199 now

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Iran’s Foreign Ministry claimed Monday that Hamas was ready to release its hostages if Israel ceases its airstrikes along the Gaza Strip — as the number known to have been taken by the terrorist group rose to at least 199.

Hamas officials are “ready” to release hostages, but doing so would be “impossible” under Israeli airstrikes in the region, Iranian Foreign Ministry Nasser Kanaani relayed at a news conference in Tehran.

The terror group “stated that they are ready to take necessary measures to release the citizens and civilians held by resistant groups, but their point was that such measures require preparations that are impossible under daily bombardment by the Zionists against various parts of Gaza,” Kanaani said.

It came as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Monday confirmed that at least 199 hostages are known to be held in Gaza, a number much greater than previously believed.

Military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said families have been notified. He did not say how many held captive were foreigners, or who was holding them, though most are believed to be held by Hamas, which rules Gaza.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said Hamas was considering releasing the 199 hostages if Israel stopped its air strikes.
Israel has said it will soon begin a ground offensive in Gaza.
AFP via Getty Images

Iran’s government has backed Hamas, and Iranian security officials are widely thought to have helped the terror group plan its Oct. 7 sneak attack on Israel, according to reports.

Iran has cautioned it could enter the war as well if Israel launches a widely anticipated ground offensive in the Gaza Strip in the coming days.

The Israeli military again said Saturday that it is “preparing to implement a wide range of offensive operative plans which include, among other things, an integrated and coordinated attack from the air, sea and land.”

Photos of people reported to be kidnapped or killed by Hamas are attached to a fence at the Israeli Embassy during a rally in support of Israel in Dublin, Ireland, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and Hamas’ top leader, Ismail Haniyeh.

The Lebanon-based terrorist organization Hezbollah has already waded into the conflict by launching missiles into Israel, a move it insists is a “warning,” rather than an entry into the war.

“We heard from the resistance that they have no problem to continue resisting,” Kanaani said, referring to Hamas. “They said the resistance holds military capability to continue resisting in the field for a long time.”

More than 2,600 people in Gaza have died as Israel pounds the region with missiles, the Palestinian health ministry said. Officials in Israel say the ongoing conflict has killed at least 1,400.

With Post wires.

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