Moussa Abu Marzouk said Hamas's armed wing "don't have to consult with the political leadership"

A senior Hamas leader has refused to acknowledge that his group killed civilians in Israel, claiming only conscripts were targeted.

Moussa Abu Marzouk told the BBC that “women, children and civilians were exempt” from Hamas’s attacks.

His claims are in stark contrast to the wealth of evidence of Hamas men shooting unarmed adults and children.

The proof includes video from Hamas body cameras and first-hand testimony given to international news networks.

Israel says more than 1,400 people were killed by Hamas in the 7 October attacks, most of them civilians.

Mr Marzouk, the group’s deputy political leader, who is subject to an asset freeze in the UK under counter – terrorism was interviewed on Saturday in the Gulf. He is the most senior member to speak to the BBC since the 7 October atrocities.

The BBC pressed Mr Marzouk on the war on Gaza, specifically on the scores of hostages being held inside the territory.

He responded that they were not able to be freed while Israel was bombing Gaza. The Hamas-run health ministry says 10,000 people have been killed since Israel started operations last month.

“We will release them. But we need to stop the fighting,” he said.

Mr Marzouk recently travelled to Moscow to discuss eight Russian-Israeli dual citizens snatched on 7 October by Hamas, a proscribed terror organisation in many countries including the UK and US.

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