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3 Russian Nationals Remain in Hamas Captivity, Israeli Ambassador Says

Israel's Ambassador to Russia Simona Halperin. Artyom Geodakyan / TASS

Three Russian-Israeli dual nationals remain in Hamas captivity in Gaza as Moscow attempts to secure their release, Israel’s Ambassador to Russia Simona Halperin said Wednesday.

Hamas-led militants launched a surprise attack against Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people and taking around 250 others hostage. Israel responded with a devastating offensive on the Gaza Strip, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 32,900 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Around 120 hostages were freed during a short-lived ceasefire in November, and Israel believes 134 people remain in Hamas captivity, Halperin was quoted as saying by the state-run TASS news agency. She added that 36 of those hostages had died.

“Three people with dual citizenship, including Russian... are not on the death lists,” Halperin said. 

“I really believe the Russian side is also acting to secure their release. Unfortunately, it’s not been possible so far,” the ambassador was quoted as saying by the broadcaster RTVI.

Moscow has previously said that it would work with “all sides” involved in the conflict, including Israel and Hamas, as it seeks to secure the release of Russian citizens.  

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