Hamas’s military wing says Israel’s objective to eliminate the militant group in Gaza was “doomed to fail”.
Abu Obeida, spokesman for Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, also said in an audio recording that any further release of hostages held in Gaza depended on a cessation of aggression, and not Israel’s continued offensive or “direct military operations.”
According to Israeli authorities, 129 hostages remain held in Gaza.
Abu Obeida added that there was “no alternative” to negotiations, warning that Israeli fire could lead to the deaths of more hostages. The recent hostilities escalated when Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, taking some 250 hostages and killing around 1,140 people, mostly civilians inside Israel, according to an AFP tally.
Israel’s retaliatory bombardment and ground invasion has killed at least 20,000 people, mostly women and children, according to Gaza’s government.
A truce last month led to the release of over 100 hostages including 80 Israelis freed in exchange for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.