An Israeli soldier believed killed in the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza may still be alive, U.S. special envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, suggested on Monday.
“Hamas must… permit the repatriation of Hadar Goldin’s remains and the release of Oron Shaul, as well as the release of Israeli civilians — Avraham Abera Mengistu, Hisham al-Sayed and Juma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima,” Greenblatt wrote, in a series of tweets condemning Hamas as an international outlaw.
Both Goldin and Shaul were officially declared killed in action, but Shaul’s family has refused to accept that determination, insisting that he is still alive, a captive of Hamas terrorists. Initially, Shaul was reported as “missing in action” after the personnel carrier in which he was attacked in and six other soldiers, Hy”d, were killed. Five days later, IDF forensic experts concluded that Shaul had also perished in the attack, and that Hamas had snatched his body.
Greenblatt also seemed to be saying that Abu Ghanima is currently being held by Hamas along with Mengistu and al-Sayed. This would contradict Israel’s official position that the latter are in Hamas hands, but Ghanima may not be. Israeli officials generally mention only Mengistu and al-Sayed as being in Hamas captivity.
Neither Greenblatt nor the White House responded to requests for clarification on the matter, The Times of Israel said. The Prime Minister’s Office, which is responsible for securing the release of Shaul, Goldin, Mengistu and al-Sayed, similarly declined to comment.