Hamas Says Health of Israeli in Gaza Captivity Has Deteriorated

Group says it will release proof of the claim within hours

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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אברה מנגיסטו (מימין) והישאם א-סייד
Hisham al-Sayed and Avera Mengistu.
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Hamas announced on Monday that it would be releasing proof within the next few hours that the health of one of the Israelis it is holding captive in Gaza has deteriorated.

The Palestinian group is believed to be holding two Israeli civilians who crossed the border into Gaza, Hisham al-Sayed and Avera Mengistu, as well as the remains of two soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. It was not clear to which of the two captives Hamas was referring.

Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas' armed wing, announced “a deterioration in the health of one of the enemy prisoners.” He said more details were expected to be released later Monday.

Last June, Al Jazeera released a recording that Israeli and foreign media outlets said might be the voice of Mengistu, a claim his mother rejected.

Hamas has demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including people convicted in deadly attacks, in exchange for the captive Israelis.

Israel says there can be no major moves toward lifting the blockade until the soldiers' remains and captive civilians are released.

The prime minister's office said Israel would continue working through Egyptian mediation to bring about the release of the captives.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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