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Hamas: Israel refused to receive two captives we intended to release for humanitarian reasons

Abu Ubaida, the spokesman for the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement's military wing, al-Qassam Brigades (file photo)

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement says Israel has refused to receive two more captives the movement had decided to release on solely humanitarian grounds.

Speaking on Saturday, Abu Ubaida, the spokesman for Hamas' military wing, al-Qassam Brigades, said in a brief statement that the movement had informed Qatar that it intended to release two more female captives "for compelling humanitarian reasons and without compensation," the Palestinian Information Center reported.

"However, the occupation regime refused to receive them," the spokesman added, identifying the captives as Nurit Yitzhak and Yochved Lifshitz.

Abu Ubaida had previously said that the number of Israelis who have been captured during Operation al-Aqsa Storm, which started on October 7, is around 250. He noted that 200 of those captives were held by al-Qassam Brigades, while the rest were kept by other Palestinian resistance factions.

On Friday, al-Qassam Brigades announced the release of two American female captives for “humanitarian reasons” in response to Qatar's mediation efforts.

Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said at the time that the release of two US captives was a “goodwill” gesture by the group.

Also speaking on Saturday, another Hamas official, who is in charge of prisoners' affairs, said the movement had offered to release the two female captives "in line with the moral principles of the resistance."

The unnamed official added, "Civilians are not a bargaining chip" for the Hamas movement, stressing that they would be released in due course when "field conditions allow."

Earlier on Saturday, a Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman told the German Welt am Sonntag newspaper that Doha believed the captives held by Hamas could be released "very soon" thanks to the ongoing discussions.

"I can't promise you this will happen today or tomorrow or after tomorrow. But we are taking a path that will very soon lead to release of the hostages, especially civilians," Majed al-Ansari said.

"We are currently working on an agreement under which all civilian hostages will be initially released," the Qatari spokesman added.

Al-Ansari said the release of the two American nationals "proved to us and our partners that the efforts made in the past days are feasible and must continue."

The Palestinian resistance groups' Operation al-Aqsa Storm also resulted in the death of at least 1,500 Israeli forces and illegal settlers and injured more than 4,800 others.

The Israeli regime has responded by bringing Gaza under a relentless campaign of bloodshed and destruction that has so far claimed the lives of at least 4,385 people, mostly civilians.

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