Hamas Claims Health of Israeli Captive Deteriorating

By Hamodia Staff

A roadside sign calling for the release of Avera Mengistu, one of two Israeli civilians held by Hamas, seen at the entrance to the southern Israel city of Ashkelon (Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM – The health of an Israeli citizen held captive by Hamas has deteriorated, according to a rare and alarming statement issued by the Gaza terrorist group on Monday night.

Abu Obeida, the spokesperson for Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the so-called military wing of Hamas, said “the health of one of its Israeli prisoners has deteriorated.”

The terror group currently holds two Israelis — Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed — as well as the bodies of two Israeli soldiers: Oron Shaul Hy”d and Hadar Goldin Hy”d.

Mengistu and al-Sayed both had a history of mental illness. They both crossed the Gaza boundary on their own between 2014 and 2015 and were kidnapped by Hamas.

However, Israeli military correspondents, who are regularly briefed off-the-record by senior Israeli officials, reported that the announcement was “psychological warfare.”

“This is a provocation by Hamas on the eighth anniversary of Operation Protective Edge. We do not recognize any change in their health,” a military official told the Kan Public Broadcaster, referring to the 2014 Gaza war between Israel and the terror group.

Negotiations for their release mediated by Egypt during the years since have failed due to Hamas demands for mass prisoner releases, including those convicted for murder in terror attacks.

Subsequently, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement saying that “Hamas has proven yet again that it is a cynical and criminal terrorist organization, which holds mentally ill civilians in violation of all international conventions and laws, as well as the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers. 

“Hamas is responsible for the state of the captured civilians. 

“The State of Israel will continue its efforts, mediated by Egypt, to bring home the captives and the missing, with responsibility and determination,” the statement concluded.

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