The US-based daily The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that countries trying to rescue their citizens taken hostage by Hamas in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been in contact with Turkey.
The newspaper reported that several countries had contacted diplomats and intelligence officials in Turkey to identify more than 150 hostages who have been held in Gaza which were under heavy Israeli bombardment at least for a week.
According to the article, Egypt, Qatar, and Turkey each boast of their long-standing relations with Hamas, but none of them has been able to get a complete answer on the names and conditions of the hostages in Gaza.
While closed-door communication was reportedly ongoing, a Turkish intelligence official told the WSJ that the foreign diplomats had asked Turkey to pass on messages in secret.
"Many states, especially Western countries, are in contact with Ankara," the intelligence official said and added that Israeli airstrikes have made it difficult for information to flow.
The Israeli bombardment killed hundreds of Palestinians and also targeted Gaza's vital infrastructure resources such as electricity, water, and Internet.
The Turkish officer told the daily that the current situation in Gaza did not lend itself to negotiations. An Egyptian official also said that every country that has contact with Hamas has tried to contact them but it was impossible to reach them.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also said that Egypt and Turkey were making attempts to release the hostages held by Hamas. She stated that especially Qatar and Turkey “have channels to talk to Hamas” and noted that the German government urgently called on these countries to mobilize these channels.
Previously, Hamas announced that a number of hostages, including citizens of other countries, had been killed in the Israeli bombardment.