Red Cross,
Red Cross, Istock

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross met with Hamas's hardline Gaza Strip
chief Tuesday as he began a three-day trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Peter Maurer met with Yahya Sinwar, whose Islamist terrorist movement runs the strip, as well as civil society groups in the enclave.

Maurer told journalists afterwards that he and Sinwar had a "good conversation" about a range of issues including the humanitarian situation in Gaza and international humanitarian law.

During the meeting, Mauer asked to be allowed to visit "the Israeli soldiers missing in Gaza."

Hamas has held the bodies of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since the soldiers fell during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Hamas also holds several Israeli civilians captive, including Avera Menistu and Hisham Shaaban al-Sayed.

Gazans are suffering through severe electricity shortages and a lack of clean water, among other humanitarian concerns.

"I want to assure the Gazan population and authorities here the ICRC will continue to do its best to support those who are suffering most from the situation," Maurer said.

Later in the evening, Maurer met PA chairman Mahmud Abbas at his headquarters in Ramallah.

On Wednesday, he is due to have talks with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Hamas has fought three conclicts with Israel since 2008, and the Jewish state maintains a partial blockade on the enclave to prevent the smuggling of weapons to terrorists.

Gaza's border with Egypt has also been largely closed in recent years.

Much of the international community considers Hamas a terrorist organisation and will not meet with it, but the ICRC meets with all parties in conflicts as part of its mandate.

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