Hamas official says ceasefire needed before hostages can be freed: Reports

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The Palestinian Hamas group that controls Gaza cannot release hostages seized during its attack on Israel until a ceasefire is agreed, the Russian newspaper Kommersant quoted a member of a Hamas delegation visiting Moscow as saying.

It quoted Abu Hamid as saying Hamas needed time to locate all of those who had been taken from Israel to Gaza by various Palestinian factions in a Hamas attack on Oct. 7.

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“They seized dozens of people, most of them civilians, and we need time to find them in the Gaza Strip and then release them,” Hamid said.

Kommersant quoted him as saying a calm environment was needed to complete this task. Hamas said on Thursday around 50 of the hostages had been killed in Israeli air strikes.

Israel has urged Russia to expel the visiting Hamas delegation, calling their invitation to Moscow “deplorable”.

Russia has ties to all the key players in the Middle East, including Israel, Iran, Syria, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

It has repeatedly blamed the current crisis on a failure of US diplomacy, and called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the resumption of talks aimed at finding a peace settlement.

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