Hamas Leader Denies Involvement in Civilian Casualties in Israel

A senior leader of Hamas has adamantly denied allegations of his group’s involvement in the killing of civilians in Israel, asserting that only conscripts were targeted in their attacks.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, the deputy political leader of Hamas, spoke with BBC News Arabic and insisted that “women, children, and civilians were exempt” from Hamas’s attacks, contradicting a substantial body of evidence documenting civilian casualties caused by Hamas.

The evidence includes video footage from Hamas body cameras and eyewitness accounts provided to international news outlets. Israel has claimed that more than 1,400 people were killed by Hamas in attacks that took place on October 7th, with the majority of the victims being civilians.

Marzouk, who is subject to asset freezing in the UK under counter-terrorism regulations, was interviewed in the Gulf and is the most senior member of Hamas to speak with the BBC since the October 7th attacks.

When pressed by the BBC about the hostage situation and the war in Gaza, Marzouk stated that the hostages could not be released while Israel was conducting its bombing campaign. According to the Hamas-run health ministry, around 10,000 people have been killed since the start of Israeli operations last month. Marzouk emphasized that they would release the hostages once the fighting ceased.

Marzouk recently traveled to Moscow to discuss the situation of eight Russian-Israeli dual citizens who were abducted by Hamas on October 7th. Hamas is considered a proscribed terrorist organization in many countries, including the UK and the US.

He revealed that Hamas members in Gaza had found two female hostages from Russia but could not secure their release due to the ongoing conflict. Marzouk insisted that hostages could only be released if “the Israelis stop the fighting so we can hand them over to the Red Cross.”

When questioned about the October 7th attacks, Marzouk claimed that the leader of Hamas’s military wing, Mohamed el-Deif, had ordered his fighters to spare civilians. He asserted that only “conscripts… or soldiers” were killed, while women, children, and civilians were “exempt.”

However, substantial evidence has documented a range of violent acts committed by Hamas in Israel on that day. The BBC and other international news organizations have gathered and verified evidence of civilian casualties caused by Hamas, including shootings captured on CCTV and footage from Hamas body cameras.

When asked whether the political wing of Hamas was aware of preparations for the attack, Marzouk asserted that the armed wing did not need to consult with the political leadership. The political wing is based in Qatar and has attempted to distance itself from the military forces in Gaza. However, the UK government, among others, sees no distinction and proscribed the Hamas political wing as a terrorist organization in 2021.

Marzouk’s role is expected to be central in the ongoing conflict with Israel and in negotiations related to the hostages taken by Hamas. The Israeli government has demanded the release of all hostages before agreeing to a temporary truce.



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