Iran Announces Hamas Willing to Release Hostages if Israel Halts Airstrikes

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has taken another turn as Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced that Hamas is willing to release 199 hostages if Israel halts its airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, the territory the terrorist group controls.

This claim could mean that Hamas is feeling the heat, especially as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) prepares to intensify ground operations in Gaza. However, there could be more to the development than it might seem.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry claimed Monday that Hamas was ready to release its hostages if Israel ceases its airstrikes along the Gaza Strip — as the number known to have been taken by the terrorist group rose to at least 199.
Hamas officials are “ready” to release hostages, but doing so would be “impossible” under Israeli airstrikes in the region, Iranian Foreign Ministry Nasser Kanaani relayed at a news conference in Tehran.
The terror group “stated that they are ready to take necessary measures to release the citizens and civilians held by resistant groups, but their point was that such measures require preparations that are impossible under daily bombardment by the Zionists against various parts of Gaza,” Kanaani said.
It came as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Monday confirmed that at least 199 hostages are known to be held in Gaza, a number much greater than previously believed.

According to the Palestinian health ministry, Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 2,600 in Gaza. The situation will likely become more urgent when IDF ramps up its ground incursion into the region.

Meanwhile, Hamas has continued to engage in acts of cruelty. Last week, terrorists posted video footage showing them posing with Israeli children they had kidnapped during their assault on Israel.

Israeli ground troops are now engaging in localized raids to eliminate Hamas operatives while gathering intelligence on the location of hostages. The IDF released a video highlighting a successful rescue operation in which 250 hostages were freed. RedState’s Ward Clark documented the story:

The video shows clearly what appear to be elite troops, well-armed, well-equipped, and well-coordinated, which is in keeping with the Shayetet 13 unit. They are using what looks like American M-4 carbines with suppressors. One team member, at about 26 seconds in, is also carrying what looks like a LAWS anti-armor rocket launcher. At 30 seconds, you can see another team member apparently hauling a Hamas captive away from the scene. The hostage rescue, what can be seen of it, begins at about 50 seconds.

If Hamas is willing to release hostages, it would be a welcome sign. It could show that the IDF’s onslaught has applied more pressure on the terrorist group to capitulate in its ongoing hostilities against the Jewish state.

On the other hand, Hamas’ credibility remains questionable. The organization isn’t exactly known for its honesty. Iran’s declaration might simply be a ploy to obtain a reprieve for Hamas, which has undoubtedly been hampered by Israel’s counterattack. Either way, this development introduces another layer of complexity to an already intricate and tragic situation.

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