The Russian Foreign Ministry has compiled a list of Russian citizens taken hostage by Hamas, an organisation shunned by most of the international community as a terrorist group, who could be in captivity in the Gaza Strip and handed it over to the Hamas delegation that arrived in Moscow for an announced visit on Thursday, Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, a member of the Hamas politburo who heads the delegation, told Russia’s RIA Novosti state news agency on Saturday.
“We are treating this list very carefully and will process it thoroughly because we view Russia as our closest friend,” he vowed, noting that the list contains eight names.
“As for the civilians who were captured and are now in Gaza, we are treating them as guests. We are now looking for these people <…> This is complicated but we are looking. As soon as we find them, we will let them go. Despite all the complications of the current situation,” the Hamas representative said.
The report that the Hamas delegation arrived in Russia for an announced visit emerged on 26 October. The Russian Foreign Ministry claimed that the issues of “releasing foreign captives” imprisoned in the Gaza Strip were discussed with the organisation members. In addition, the “issues linked to ensuring evacuation of Russian and other foreign citizens” were raised at the meeting. The statement does not mention anything related to Russian captives or the Russian citizens who were killed in the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October.
Hamas representatives are regular visitors to Moscow. Just last year, one of the organisation’s leaders, Ismail Haniyeh, came to Moscow to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.