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‘No one has any idea’ how many Israeli hostages are alive, says senior Hamas official in Lebanon

Osama Hamdan blames Israel for mental and physical abuse of hostages

Osama Hamdan interviewed by CNN, June 14, 2024. (Photo: Screenshot)

Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan stated in an interview with CNN that the group doesn't know how many Israeli hostages are still alive.

During the interview, filmed in Lebanon, Hamdan was asked about the hostages.

“How many of those 120 are still alive?”

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

Hamdan, a member of Hamas' politburo, is based in Lebanon but maintains contact with Hamas leadership in Gaza. He spoke about the hostage release ceasefire deal, which has seen little progress since U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled the proposal last month.

The Biden administration has pointed the finger at Hamas for being a significant barrier to achieving the deal. 

Speaking to reporters at the G7 summit, Biden said: “I’ve laid out an approach that has been endorsed by the UN Security Council, by the G7, by the Israelis, and the biggest hang-up so far is Hamas refusing to sign on even though they have submitted something similar.” 

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed Hamas had not accepted the deal, but presented “numerous changes” that went beyond the group’s previous demands. 

“Hamas proposed numerous changes to the proposal that was on the table. Some of the changes are workable and some are not,” Blinken said. "As a result, the war will go on and more people will suffer.” 

“It's time for the haggling to stop and the ceasefire to start. Israel accepted the proposal as it is, Hamas didn't. It is clear what needs to happen,” Blinken stated. 

Hamdan said Israel’s position regarding the ceasefire length is unacceptable to Hamas. 

“The Israelis want the ceasefire only for six weeks and then they want to go back to the fight,” Hamdan said, adding that the U.S. “did not convince the Israelis to accept” a permanent ceasefire. 

In the interview, Hamdan repeatedly deflected any Hamas responsibility for the war in Gaza or the state of the hostages. 

Hamdan referred to the “Al-Aqsa Flood” (Hamas’ name for the Oct. 7 invasion and terror attack) as “a reaction against the occupation.” 

When asked about recent messages published by The Wall Street Journal, allegedly leaked from Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and stating his determination to continue fighting, Hamdan dismissed them as fake.

“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,” Hamdan claimed, without providing evidence. 

Hamdan also blamed Israel for the mistreatment of Israeli hostages in Gaza. Responding to the testimony of an Israeli doctor who said the hostages had suffered mental and physical abuse, Hamdan claimed, “I believe if they have a mental problem, this is because of what Israel has done in Gaza.” 

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

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