Red Cross chief to visit Egypt, Gaza for talks on access to hostages held by Hamas — report

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, is expected to arrive in Egypt and the Gaza Strip today for discussions on allowing Red Cross representatives to access the hostages taken from Israel on October 7 and held by Hamas, according to Hebrew-language media.

The organization has come under fierce criticism in Israel and abroad for not doing more to push for access to the hostages to check on their wellbeing, deliver medications, and facilitate communication with families, per its mandate

Israel has said that Red Cross visits to the remaining hostages were a stipulation of the truce between Israel and Hamas last week, which lasted seven days and saw the release of over 100 hostages, mostly Israeli women and children.

Two weeks ago, Spoljaric met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar for discussions. Her office later said that the “ICRC has persistently called for the immediate release of hostages.

“The ICRC is insisting that our teams be allowed to visit the hostages to check on their welfare and deliver medications, and for the hostages to be able to communicate with their families. Agreements must be reached that allow the ICRC to safely carry out this work. The ICRC cannot force its way in to where hostages are held, nor do we know their location,” her office said.

In Mid-November, she met with family members of hostages and with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Health Minister Uriel Menachem Buso in Geneva.

“Families of hostages are living through an incredibly heart-wrenching time and I want to underscore how hard we are advocating on behalf of their loved ones,” she said. “This is a key priority for me, and I know the enormous pain the families are enduring.”

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