A Hamas spokesman threatened on Sunday that the terror organization could kill all of the presumed 137 hostages in its custody if Israel does not accede to its demands.
Abu Obeida, a familiar spokesman for Hamas who had not been seen for several weeks, released a video in which he made the threat clear.
“Neither the fascist enemy and its arrogant leadership… nor its supporters… can take their prisoners alive without an exchange and negotiation and meeting the demands of the resistance,” he said, according to the Times of Israel.
It is not clear if Hamas would deliver on that threat. The hostages are the only leverage that Hamas has over Israel, and it uses them as human shields. The Hamas leaders in exile — in luxurious accommodation in Doha, Qatar — would also likely to preserve the hostages alive to ensure that Israel negotiates with them, rather than killing them (as it has promised to do, eventually).
Hamas has tried to use the deaths of individual hostages to deter Israeli military action before. In the latest example, it claimed that Sahar Baruch, 25, a hostage from Kibbutz Be’eri, had been killed in an Israeli rescue attempt. Israel said that Baruch was murdered by Hamas and that the rescue attempt killed several terrorists but found no hostages in the location that was raided.
The new threat could be a sign that Israel’s military pressure is working, forcing Hamas to make sensational threats to survive.
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