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Russian senior diplomat may discuss hostages with Hamas - RIA

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov may meet Hamas officials in Qatar next week and discuss a possible release of hostages seized by the militant group in its attack on Israel a week ago, Russian state news agency RIA reported on Saturday.

Bogdanov told RIA he was heading to Qatar and usually met with Hamas every time he was there.

"If they wish, we always maintain contact. Moreover, in this situation, this (meeting) is useful for resolving practical issues, including the release of hostages," Bogdanov said.

Hamas carried out the deadliest attack in Israel's history a week ago, killing more than 1,300 people and taking scores of hostages to Gaza. Israel has responded with the most intensive air strikes of its 75-year conflict with the Palestinians. Gaza authorities said 1,900 people have been killed.

Russia has drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire. President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that an expected Israeli ground assault on Gaza would lead to an "absolutely unacceptable" level of civilian casualties.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)