December 13, 2023 | Flash Brief

Russia Demands Hamas Release Hostages

December 13, 2023 | Flash Brief

Russia Demands Hamas Release Hostages

Latest Developments

A senior Russian official pressed Palestinian factions on December 10 and 11 to release hostages held in Gaza. A statement from Russia’s foreign ministry said that Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov emphasized the need to “urgently resolve all humanitarian problems, including the release of hostages” during phone calls with senior leadership from Hamas, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Palestinian Democratic Union, and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Concurrently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a 50-minute call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 10, the first call between the two leaders since October 16. Netanyahu “expressed sharp criticism of the dangerous cooperation between Russia and Iran,” according to a statement from the prime minister’s office. The Kremlin said the conversation focused on the “catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.”

Expert Analysis

“The call between Netanyahu and Putin was critical. While Putin is no ally of the Jewish state, Israel is using every point of leverage to bring home the more than 100 hostages in Gaza. Putin has an open line of communication to the terrorists in Gaza and could significantly impact the hostage negotiations.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of Israel’s Program and National Security Network

“Over recent years, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have traveled to Moscow and have engaged in meetings with high-ranking Russian officials. These efforts by Palestinian terrorist groups are aimed at forging a connection with Russia and are an attempt to gain legitimacy on an international scale.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Over 130 Hostages Remain

Approximately 135 hostages remain in Gaza. Israel believes that 19 of them are no longer alive.

Hamas took approximately 240 hostages into Gaza on October 7. The terror group released 81 Israeli hostages between November 24 and November 30 as part of an Egyptian- and Qatari-mediated deal that paused fighting in the Gaza Strip. Hamas also released 23 Thai nationals, one Filipino, and three Israeli-Russian dual citizens under separate arrangements with Bangkok, Manila, and Moscow. The terror group said on November 26 that it released Russian national Roni Krivoi in “appreciation” for the Kremlin’s “support of the Palestinian cause.”

Americans Still in Gaza

Hamas released two American citizens, 49-year-old Liat Beinin Atzili and four-year-old Abigail Edan, during the weeklong pause in November. Earlier, the terror group released an American mother and daughter, Judith and Natalie Raanan, on October 20. Approximately eight Americans remain captive in Gaza. President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with families of American hostages at the White House on December 13.

Six More Israeli Hostages Died in Hamas Captivity, Israel Says,” FDD Flash Brief

Red Cross President Calls on Hamas to Release Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief

Qatar’s Leverage on Hamas Falters, Hostages Remain,” FDD Flash Brief


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