There are currently between 200 and 250 prisoners in Gaza, says the terror group’s military spokesman Abu Obeida, noting that there is no definitive count, due to “security and practical difficulties,” but affirming that 200 of them are in the hands of Hamas following the terror group’s massive onslaught on October 7.
In a televised statement, he says that about 50 others are held by other “resistance factions and in other places.”
Foreign hostages are “our guests,” Abu Obeida says, vowing to protect them and to release them whenever conditions “on the ground” allow for it.
Abu Obeida says the threat of an Israeli ground operation in Gaza “doesn’t scare us and we are ready for it.”
He also names an Israeli hostage allegedly killed in an Israeli bombing in the last few hours.
Khaled Mashaal, a prominent Hamas figure and the former political leader of the group, says in a separate interview that there are 6,000 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, boasting that Hamas holds enough hostages — including high-ranking officials of the IDF’s Gaza Division — to free all of them.
He also says that Gazans will not leave the Strip, and that their displacement would harm Egyptian national security and would pose a danger for Jordan, implying that a mass exodus of Palestinians to a neighboring country could set a precedent for the West Bank.
He praises Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group for “taking steps” against Israel, noting however that Hamas needs more support.