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2:50 p.m. ET, October 26, 2023

Hamas discusses Gaza hostages with Russian officers in Moscow

A Hamas delegation has held talks in Moscow with a senior Russian overseas ministry official, in accordance with Russian state media TASS and a Hamas assertion. TASS mentioned discussions centered on the discharge of hostages held by Hamas, as effectively as the evacuation of Russian residents from Gaza.

Mousa Abu Marzouk, deputy chief of Hamas’s political bureau, and Basem Naim, one other senior Gaza-based Hamas chief, had been among the many visiting delegation, which met with Russia’s deputy overseas minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa Mikhail Bogdanov, in accordance with the Hamas assertion. 

TASS quoted the overseas ministry saying talks had taken place as a part of Russia’s place calling for “the instant launch of overseas hostages situated within the Gaza Strip.”

“Issues related to ensuring the evacuation of Russian and other foreign citizens from the territory of the Palestinian enclave were also discussed,” the overseas ministry added.

The Hamas delegation praised the place of Russian President Vladimir Putin and burdened the necessity for the worldwide neighborhood to “uphold its responsibilities against the crime of genocide committed by the Zionist government,” in accordance with the Hamas assertion.

“Mr. Bogdanov expressed his country’s position in support of the rights of the Palestinian people and showed his country’s efforts with the relevant parties aimed at a ceasefire, opening the crossings and bringing in humanitarian aid (to Gaza),” the Hamas assertion added.

Israel’s response: Israel condemned Russian officers’ assembly with senior Hamas officers, in accordance with an Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs assertion. 

“Israel condemns the invitation of senior Hamas officials to Moscow, which is an act of support of terrorism and legitimizes the atrocities of Hamas terrorists,” the overseas ministry mentioned. “We call on the Russian government to expel the Hamas terrorists immediately.”

Evacuation requests: On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova additionally that about 1,000 residents of Russia and member nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have requested to be evacuated from Gaza.

The CIS member nations embody Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

CNN’s Lauren Kent and Tamar Michaelis contributed reporting to this put up.

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