Israel considers Hamas’ claim of refusing to release hostages “propaganda”

A person looks at posters depicting hostages and missing persons, as Tel Aviv residents show support and solidarity with the families of hostages being held in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 21. 2023. Reuters/Ammar Awad Obtaining licensing rights

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel on Saturday described Hamas’ claim that the movement wants to release two more hostages on humanitarian grounds as “propaganda.”

Abu Ubaida, spokesman for the military wing of Hamas, said that Hamas informed Qatar of the movement’s intention to release the two additional people on Friday, the same day it released the Americans, Judith Tai Ranan and her daughter, Natalie.

In a later statement, Abu Ubaida said that Hamas was prepared to release the two individuals on Sunday “using the same procedures” that were followed in the release of Judith and Natalie.

The Palestinian movement captured about 210 people during its deadly attack in southern Israel on October 7. Qatar, which helped broker their release on Friday, had no immediate comment.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a brief statement: “We will not point out the false propaganda carried out by Hamas.”

The statement added: “We will continue to work in every way to return all the kidnapped and missing persons to their homes.”

(Reporting by Emily Rose and Hatem Maher in Dubai and Andrew Mills in Doha – Preparing by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin – Preparing by Muhammad Al-Yamani for the Arabic Bulletin) Editing by Alison Williams and Daniel Wallis

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