(JNS.org) The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has been holding two Israeli citizens in Gaza captive for the last 10 months, one whose identity was revealed Thursday upon the lifting of a gag order by the Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court.
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.”