The spokesperson for Hamas’s military wing said Tuesday his group “is saving” something that “will surprise the world” during any possible future prisoner exchange with Israel.
Abu Obeida, the spokesperson for Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, vowed that Israel would “pay a compulsory price” for the freedom of two Israeli citizens being held in Gaza as well as the remaisn of two soldiers presumed killed in fighting in 2014.
“The world and our prisoners will be surprised when the right time comes to fully reveal the facts that the resistance is saving for the sake of the freedom of our prisoners,” he said in a televised statement.
Hamas is currently holding the remains of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in the 2014 Gaza war, as well as 29-year-old Avraham Mengistu and Juma Ibrahim Abu Anima.
The statement from Abu Obeida came as the terror group, which is the de facto ruler of Gaza, marked five years since exchanging Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.
During the speech, Abu Obeidah accused Israel of “spreading lies and misleading its public” as well as “evading the payment for a new deal.”
In mid-September, Israel’s chief negotiator Lior Lotan said Hamas had recently refused an Israeli offer to free 18 Palestinians and hand over 19 bodies seized during the 2014 war in Gaza in exchange for the two Israeli captives and the the bodies of the soldiers.
Instead, Lotan said, Hamas demanded that Israel release Palestinian prisoners who are not from Gaza and who are not connected to the 2014 war, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge.
Hamas quickly dismissed Lotan’s statement as an attempt to look as if Israel were trying to solve the problem, saying it wasn’t “a real effort,” and adding that the Netanyahu government needed to sign “a new exchange deal” to bring its boys home.
The Hamas terror group has long demanded Israel first release hundreds of Palestinians who were rearrested after they were freed in the 2011 Shalit deal before they would even enter into negotiations with Israel over a prisoner exchange.