They could only realistically release hostages, he said, if “the Israelis stop the ﬁghting so we can hand them over to the Red Cross”.
Challenged by the media about the attack of 7 October, Mr. Marzouk claimed that Mohamed el-Deif, the leader of Hamas’s Qassam Brigades military wing, had ordered his men to spare civilians.
“El-Deif clearly told his fighters ‘don’t kill a woman, don’t kill a child and don’t kill an old man’,” he said.
Reservist soldiers were, he said, “targeted”. He maintained that only “conscripts […] or soldiers” were killed.
But women, children and civilians were “exempt”, he said.
Considerable evidence has been amassed, documenting a range of violent actions carried out by Hamas in Israel on October 7th.
We have also authenticated CCTV footage capturing Hamas shootings. Additionally, the Israeli government has shared footage from Hamas body cameras with the media and other media outlets.
Numerous international news organizations have independently collected and verified evidence concerning the events of that day.
The media questioned Mr. Marzouk on these matters, but he did not directly address the questions. When asked if the political wing of Hamas had knowledge of the attack preparations, the deputy leader claimed that the armed wing did not need to consult with the political leadership.
The political wing, based in Qatar, often presents itself as being separate from the military forces in Gaza.
However, the UK government does not distinguish between the two, having proscribed the Hamas political wing as a terrorist organization in 2021, stating that “the approach of distinguishing between the various parts of Hamas is artificial. Hamas is a complex but single terrorist organization.”
Mr. Marzouk is also designated as a specially designated global terrorist by the US Treasury Department and faces several charges related to coordinating and financing Hamas activities.
The interview on Saturday took place following the US’s request for a “humanitarian pause” in Gaza to facilitate aid delivery and the release of some of the 240 hostages taken by Hamas on October 7.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that all hostages must be released before considering a temporary truce.
Mr. Marzouk stated that Hamas did not possess a comprehensive list of these individuals he referred to as “guests,” and many were held by “different factions” within Gaza. There are multiple groups in Gaza, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which collaborate closely with Hamas but maintain an ostensible independence.
He emphasized the need for a ceasefire to compile the necessary information, as there were other urgent priorities amid the ongoing bombardment.
Mr. Marzouk is expected to play a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of the conflict with Israel and is likely to be a central figure in negotiations regarding the hostages.
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