Abu Obaida, spokesman for the al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, said on Saturday that they intended to release two Israeli female prisoners without charge, and that they had informed the Qatari side of that, but Israel refused to receive them.

Abu Obaida said in a brief statement posted on Telegram, “We informed the Qatari brothers yesterday evening (Friday) that we would release both Nurit Yitzchak and Yocheved Lifshitz, the Israelis, for compelling humanitarian reasons and without compensation”.

He added, “However, the occupation government refused to receive them”.

The al Qassam Brigades spokesman didn’t explain the reasons for the Israeli side’s rejection of the matter, and didn’t issue an immediate comment in this regard.

This comes two days after Abu Obaida announced that they had released two American detainees for humanitarian reasons, in response to Qatari efforts, amid Western pressure on Israel to postpone launching ground military action in the Gaza Strip, for fear that this would thwart efforts to secure the release of more prisoners.

During its operation launched from Gaza on October 7, Hamas took dozens of Israelis, including soldiers and officers, from the settlements surrounding the Gaza Strip into the Strip, according to what the movement announced at the time.

On Saturday, Israel described what Hamas announced that it intended to release two more hostages for humanitarian reasons, but Israel refused to receive them, as propaganda.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a brief statement, “We won’t point out the false propaganda spread by Hamas”.

The statement added, “We’ll continue to work in every way to return all the kidnapped and missing persons to their homes”.

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