Even Hamas unsure how many Israeli captives are alive, senior terrorist admits

Top Hamas official admits ‘not one has an idea’ how many Israeli captives held in Gaza are still alive, demands end to war and full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza as conditions for hostages’ release.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

The fate of many of the Israeli captives taken hostage on October 7th and forced into the Gaza Strip remains a mystery even to the most senior leaders of the Hamas terror organization, an official from the Gaza-based group has acknowledged, complicating the already stalled hostage deal talks.

In an interview aired Thursday, Osama Hamdan, a member of Hamas’ politburo, admitted to CNN that “no one has an idea” how many of the 120 Israeli captives still in Gaza are alive.

Many of the over 250 captives taken during Gaza’s invasion of Israel on October 7th were seized by members of rival terrorist groups, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or Gazan civilians who crossed the border after it was breached by Hamas’ elite Nukhba Force special operations unit.

Some of the captives captured by Gaza civilians are believed to have remained imprisoned in their captors’ private homes long after the initial invasion.

Hamdan emphasized that Hamas’ leadership does not have information on all of the captives, and does not even know how many are still alive.

“I don’t have any idea about that. No one has an idea about this.”

In the interview, Hamdan reiterated the terror group’s claim that last Saturday’s rescue mission in Nuseirat which liberated four captives also led to the deaths of three other captives, including an American citizen.

This is not the first time Hamas has hinted that it does not have information or access to some of the captives.

During hostage deal talks in April, the group told Egyptian and Qatari brokers it could not guarantee it had 40 living captives to trade for a ceasefire.

Turning to the ongoing efforts to secure the release of the hostages in exchange for a ceasefire, Hamdan reiterated Hamas’ demand that the initial six-week ceasefire ultimately become a permanent truce, and that Israel withdraw completely from the Gaza Strip – two conditions Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected.

Hamdan also rejected reports which cited private correspondence and confidants of the Hamas chief, that the October 7th mastermind Yahya Sinwar viewed the deaths of thousands of Gazan civilians as a necessary sacrifice and even as a useful tool to advance the group’s goals.

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“It was fake messages done by someone who is not Palestinian and was sent [to the] Wall Street Journal as part of the pressure against Hamas and provoking the people against the leader.”

“No one can accept the killing of the Palestinians, of his own people.”