Oct 16, 2023
Iran Claims Hamas Willing To Release Hostages
As Israel confirmed that 199 hostages are held in Gaza, Iran's Foreign Ministry claims that its proxy Hamas has expressed readiness to release civilian detainees.
In a Monday press conference, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Naser Kanaani said, "The Palestinian resistance movement has informed us they are prepared to take necessary actions for the liberation of prisoners and non-military detainees they hold." Kanaani also emphasized the need for “specific prerequisites” to be met for this to become a reality.
There has been no announcement on this through official Hamas channels as yet, while countries including Qatar, Egypt and the US work to release the hostages, dozens of whom are from countries from Europe to north and south America.
While Israel prepares for a ground operation in Gaza, Kanaani used the press conference as a chance to legitimize the escalation of the conflict which began on October 7, when Hamas invaded Israel by land, sea and air, and massacred at least 1,400 people, including roughly 300 soldiers, with numbers rising.
Holding up posters related to the recent bombings in Gaza, Kanaani threatened that the continued path of conflict could "escalate the situation out of control, leading to a range of possibilities," insinuating its biggest proxy, Hezbollah, will get involved from Israel's northern front.
When questioned about whether Iran might directly intervene in the conflict, Kanaani did not provide a clear response. Instead, he referred to the capabilities of Hamas in self-defense and stated, "Hamas is capable in this domain, which is why the Zionist regime has avoided direct confrontation with resistance groups and has drawn the conflicts into non-military areas."
Hamas receives around $100m from Iran each year in addition to military support and training.
Top echelons of the regime continue to push for action against Israel. Ali Akbar Velayati, an advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on international affairs, met with a representative of Hamas in Tehran on Monday. He stated, "You should move forward with all your might."