Moussa Abu Marzouk
Moussa Abu MarzoukReuters

Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk told BBC that civilians were "exempt" from the October 7 massacre perpetrated by Hamas in Israel.

The massacre left over 1,400 Israelis dead, and 240 are confirmed as kidnapped to Gaza. Some people are still missing.

The vast majority of the victims of the massacre, and the vast majority of hostages, are civilians; among them are women, children, infants, the elderly, and the infirm.

Abu Marzouk, however, told BBC that the October 7 attack focused on "conscripts" and that "women, children and civilians were exempt" from Hamas' attacks.

He claimed that Hamas leader Mohammed Deif "clearly told his fighters 'don't kill a woman, don't kill a child and don't kill an old man.'" IDF reservists were "targeted" he said, adding that only "conscripts" and "soldiers" were killed.

When BBC challenged Abu Marzouk's claim, asking about the footage from Hamas terrorists' helmet cameras which showed civilians being shot, the Hamas leader avoided answering the question.

Abu Marzouk also insisted that Hamas cannot free the hostages until "the Israelis stop the fighting so we can hand them over to the Red Cross."

"We will release them. But we need to stop the fighting," he insisted, claiming that Hamas "looked for and found two female hostages" from Russia, but were not able to release them due to the hostilities.

At the same time, when asked whether the terror organization's political wing had known of the massacre plans, Abu Marzouk insisted that Hamas' military wing "don't have to consult with the political leadership. There is no need."