Gaza war must end for any hostage release: Hamas
DOHA: (Reuters) Hamas said on Monday that releasing hostages it is holding would require a guaranteed end to the Israeli offensive in Gaza and withdrawal of all invasion forces, reiterating its position after Israel held a meeting with Qatari and Egyptian mediators.
“The success of the Paris meeting is dependent on the Occupation (Israel) agreeing to end the comprehensive aggression on Gaza Strip,” senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters.
It was not immediately clear if, with this condition met, Hamas would free all or some of the 132 hostages Israel says remain in Gaza. Hamas had previously said a full release would require that Israel free all of the thousands of Palestinians held on security grounds in its prisons.
A Palestinian official, close to mediation talks, who requested anonymity, said that for Hamas to sign a follow-up deal to the November truce in which it released dozens of hostages, it wants Israel to agree to end the offensive and withdraw from Gaza – though implementation would not necessarily be immediate.
The agreement would have to be endorsed by Qatar, Egypt and the United States, the official said.