Hamas holding two Israelis hostage in Gaza since last September

July 10, 2015 Agencies
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The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has been holding two Israeli citizens in Gaza captive for the last 10 months, one whose identity was revealed yesterday upon the lifting of a gag order by the Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court. 

The flag of Hamas. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The flag of Hamas. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

An Israeli man of Ethiopian descent, 28-year-old Avera Mengistu, has been held by Hamas since crossing the border fence into Gaza last September. The identity of the other hostage remains under gag order. It is unclear why Mengistu entered Gaza.

“This is a painful situation which I, together with the relevant officials at the President’s Office, have been following closely since it began,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said. “I am in contact with the Mengistu family and I know that all the relevant authorities have been working tirelessly, and monitoring the issue closely, from the moment Avraham [Mengistu] crossed over the fence. This is a humanitarian issue, and we expect those holding him to behave accordingly and return him in good health. According to the information which has arisen, Mengistu is being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. We will continue to make every effort in order to bring an end to this incident, as soon as possible.”

Hamas spokesman Salah Bardawil declined to comment on the two Israelis.

“We don’t have any information about it,” said Bardawil, the Associated Press reported. “Even if is true, we don’t have instructions to talk about it.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented: “”We are working to return the two Israelis who crossed the fence into Gaza. We hold Hamas responsible for their welfare.

I have appointed a representative to coordinate all activity on the issue and to be in contact with the families.

Yesterday I spoke with the parents and siblings of Avraham Mengistu and I told them that from as soon as the incident became known we have spared no effort to return him to Israel. We agreed to meet soon.

I expect the international community, which expresses its concern over the humanitarian situation in Gaza, to issue a clear call for these citizens to be released and to see to their return.”

President Reuven Rivlin said: “This is a painful situation which I, together with the relevant officials at the President’s Office, have been following closely since it began.

I am in contact with the Mengistu family and I know that all the relevant authorities have been working tirelessly, and monitoring the issue closely, from the moment Avraham crossed over the fence. This is a humanitarian issue, and we expect those holding him to behave accordingly and return him in good health. According to the information which has arisen, Mengistu is being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. We will continue to make every effort in order to bring an end to this incident, as soon as possible”

National Chairman of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Mark Leibler  and executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein told J-Wire “AIJAC is gravely concerned for the welfare of two Israeli civilians who, it has just been revealed, are believed to be currently being held captive by Hamas or other Palestinian terror groups in Gaza, and extends our sincerest sympathy and hopes for their safe return to the families and loved ones of the two individuals concerned.

We urge the Australian government to use whatever diplomatic influence it can bring to bear to support international efforts to bring about their immediate and unconditional release.”

Mark Leibler AO National Chairman Dr.Colin Rubenstein AM Executive Director

JNS.org and GPO

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