Hamas to release Russian hostages as gesture of thanks to Putin

Show of appreciation follows release of Israeli-Russian national Roni Krivoi on 26 November

Roni Krivoi
Russian-Israeli national Roni Krivoi was abducted at the Supernova music festival on 7 October but was released by Hamas on 26 November
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hamas has said it will release a number of Russian hostages in a gesture of thanks to President Putin for his support.

As negotiations with Israel over prolonging the current truce continue, Hamas political bureau member Moussa Abu Marzouk wrote on X, according to Russian news agency Tass: "We have not released any of the Israeli men that are in Gaza, with the exception of Russian Roni Krivoi, whom we released as a token of appreciation for Russian President Putin's stance. Several other Russians will be released today outside of the truce deal."

The acknowledgement of Russian support follows Hamas releasing Krivoi on 26 November, while Putin hosted Hamas leaders in Moscow at the end of October. The Kremlin has been "quick to weaponize the Israel-Hamas war for its own propaganda purposes", said Politico

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Given the provisions set out in the current deal between Hamas and Israel, "the truce could potentially extend to Sunday, assuming more Israeli hostages are set free", said The Times of Israel.

Israel "would like to see all the remaining women and children held hostage in Gaza released over the coming days", added the paper. 

The office of the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told CNN that it believes there are 161 hostages still being held in Gaza, including what it believes is "30 to 40 women and children", said The Times of Israel. 

Addameer, a Palestinian NGO, told The Economist that it estimated Israeli authorities currently held 7,000 Palestinians in detention, including 2,070 in administrative detention, meaning they were held without charge. Days before the truce began, Israel’s government "published a list of 300 Palestinians who could be released as part of the exchange with Hamas", said the publication. Around 90% are teenage boys between 16 and 18 years old, and the remainder are mostly adult women.

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