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Enough Israeli hostages taken to swap 'all Palestinian prisoners' held in Israeli prisons, according to Hamas

Palestinians near the border fence with Israel from Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, October 7, 2023. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy chief of Hamas, who is based in Lebanon, told Al Jazeera news on Saturday that the Iranian-backed terrorist organization has taken enough hostages to “release all our prisoners,” referring to terrorists jailed in Israel.

“We managed to kill and capture many Israeli soldiers. The fighting is still on,” al-Arouri said.

“Our detainees in [Israeli] prisons, their freedom is looming large. What we have in our hands will release all our prisoners. The longer fighting continues, the higher the number of prisoners will become.”

He also claimed that some of the hostages were “senior officers” and lied about Hamas not killing or harming civilians, postulating that videos show the terrorists treating civilians “humanely.” The terrorists who infiltrated Israel in the south filmed themselves murdering and torturing Israeli civilians, including women, children and the elderly.

In the interview, al-Arouri said the terrorist group’s unprecedented assault on Israel was “an all-out battle” aimed at “liberating” it.

“This is not a [hit-and-run] operation; we started an all-out battle. We expect fighting to continue and the fighting front to expand. We have one prime target: Our freedom and the freedom of our holy sites,” he stated.

He also claimed that Hamas was ready “for all stages of the conflict," adding that a ground invasion by Israeli forces would constitute the “best scenario” for Hamas.  

“We have a plan for all stages of this conflict,” al-Arouri continued, “both in case of an Israeli request for a ceasefire, and in case of a continuing escalation of the violence. We are prepared for all options.”

“We are ready for the worst-case scenario, including a ground invasion, which will be the best for us to decide the ending of this battle,” he added.

Al-Arouri, considered the de facto leader of Hamas in the West Bank, said he has “hope and trust” that Arabs will join in the fight “to defend Al-Aqsa”, especially terrorist groups in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank. 

“We entered this battle not just for a few hours. We entered it knowing that there will be consequences, and we have no choice but to fight it to achieve our high goals,” he said.

Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh stated on Saturday that the attack was due to Israel's “violations” of the al-Aqsa Mosque, which the terrorist organization falsely claims is in “real danger” from Israel.  

According to Haniyeh, Hamas launched the attacks on Israel to liberate “our land, our holy sites, our al-Aqsa, and our prisoners,” and lauded Hamas for throwing the Israeli military “off balance within minutes.”

Echoing al-Arouri, Haniyeh also called for all “resistance” to launch attacks on Israel and said that countries normalizing ties with Israel should not expect that such moves will give them protection, alluding to the ongoing talks about normalizing ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Haniyeh claimed that Hamas was “on the verge of a great victory.”

Earlier in the day, Mohammad Deif, the military commander of Hamas, called on Iranian proxy terror groups across the Middle East to join the fight, urging the “Islamic resistance Iraq, Syria and Lebanon” to “merge their resistance with that of the Palestinians today” and “start marching towards Palestine now.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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