(Reuters) – Hamas is searching for eight people identified by Russia as possibly being among the hostages in Gaza and is ready to release them, Hamas Politburo member Abu Marzouk told Russia’s official RIA news agency on Saturday.
According to RIA, Marzouk, visiting Moscow, said that the Russian Foreign Ministry had handed over a list of eight names, all of whom have dual citizenship.
“We are very attentive to this list and we will treat it carefully because we consider Russia our closest friend,” Marzouk said.
“Now we are looking for these people. It is difficult, but we are looking. And as soon as we find them, we will release them. Despite the difficulties due to the current situation.”
Russia on Friday defended its decision to invite a Hamas delegation to Moscow against harsh Israeli criticism, saying it was necessary to maintain contacts with all parties to the conflict.
(Reporting by Andrew Osborn; editing by Giles Elgood)