Mexico City, Mexico — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed Tuesday that the Mexican government is attempting to contact the Palestinian militant movement, Hamás to negotiate the rescue of two Mexican nationals taken hostage by the group.
During his morning briefing on October 17, López Obrador said his government is in contact with the kidnapped Mexicans’ relatives and in talks with different governments and organizations to retrieve the hostages, including Hamás.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry confirmed on October 14 that the Mexican nationals, identified as Ilana Gritzewsky and Orión Hernández, were taken hostage by Hamás on October 7 following the militia attack on Israel.
“We are talking to everyone, not just to one side. We do not even have anything concrete yet. We are doing work which requires, also, in this case, secrecy and acting with a lot of responsibility because what we want is to save lives,” said López Obrador.
The president’s comments follow the announcement made by presidential spokesman Jesus Ramirez Cuevas on October 16, who, in interview, shared Mexico’s Foreign Ministry’s efforts to rescue the Mexican nationals captive in the Gaza Strip.
“The Foreign Ministry is intervening to seek contact with both Hamas and like-minded governments and organizations to identify where they (hostages) are and seek their release,” said Cuevas.
According to international media, Hamás has taken between 200 and 250 hostages in the wake of their affront against the occupying forces of Israel.
The hostages are reportedly used as a bargaining tactic to secure Palestinian prisoners’ liberation and deter the killing of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli government, which has embarked on a relentless bombing campaign against civilians, including strikes on residential areas and the bombing of a Palestinian hospital.
Mexicans stranded in Israel
Around 1,000 Mexicans were caught in the crossfire between Palestinian liberation movements and the Israeli military. Following the outburst of the conflict on October 7, the Mexican government moved to retrieve all Mexican citizens looking to return to their homeland.
Through the Mexican Air Forces, the Mexican government has completed four trips rescuing up to 720 Mexicans, with the latest rescue mission arriving in Mexico City on Tuesday morning. Mexico’s Foreign Ministry has also enabled land routes to evacuate Mexicans from the conflict zone, although the number of Mexican citizens leaving Israel by land is unknown.
Through a press release, the Foreign Ministry shared that the rescue planes were designated for the most vulnerable: children and teenagers; injured, accident victims or people with medical conditions; senior citizens; people with disabilities; and pregnant women.