Egypt asked a Hamas delegation in Cairo last week about two IDF soldiers whose bodies are still being held captive in Gaza, and two Israeli nationals who missing in the region.
The Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades military wing of Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group has said Israel must “pay” if it wants any information about any of the four.
The group has also tried to imply that the two soldiers may still be alive, a particularly nasty form of psychological warfare often practiced by terror groups against Israeli families.
But Hamas itself has been in the cross-hairs of the Egyptian government for some time now, since the terror group is the spawn of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian authorities have not been pleased with efforts by Hamas to tunnel deep into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, nor by its assistance to Da’esh (ISIS) and other terror groups in its territory.
Egypt has flooded those tunnels with Mediterranean seawater, and sealed them to prevent further infiltrations into its territory.
Hamas is now trying to repair its broken ties with Cairo, Arab media reported Sunday.
An Egyptian daily quoted Egyptian sources close to the situation who said the Hamas delegation was asked about the four Israelis being held in Gaza.
Both of the IDF soldiers died in the line of duty during Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014. Both are officers: one is Oron Shaul, the other is Hadar Goldin. Hamas stole their bodies and is holding the remains, although the group has attempted to imply the soldiers are alive.
On Friday evening, Hamas spokesperson Abu Obaida said in a statement on the military wing’s website: “There are no contacts or negotiations on the four soldiers, and the Israeli enemy will not get information about their fate but to pay the prices before and after the negotiations.” He added that Netanyahu “lies to his people and deceives the families of the Israeli captive soldiers.”
Hamas wants Israel to free more bloodthirsty terrorist prisoners with blood on their hands.
But according to the report, Egyptian authorities questioned the Hamas delegation this past week when they came to Cairo. The Hamas representatives were seeking a way to heal the breach with Egypt after violating the country’s borders and helping Sinai terrorists murder Egyptian security forces.
One of the live Israeli hostages is a young Israeli Bedouin from the southern Israeli town of Hura, located in the northern Negev. He allegedly entered Gaza through the Erez Crossing in April although it is not clear how. At the family’s request his name has not been released. It is known, however, that he has mild mental health issues and has entered Gaza, Jordan and Egypt at least once before. Each time, he was returned by the authorities.
Avraham Mengisto, 29, is being held after he climbed over the security fence to cross the Gaza border and simply walked into the region. Mengisto, an Ethiopian immigrant to Israel, suffers from mental illness and was not accepted for service in the IDF.
His brother Gashao told European officials in Geneva in February, “When Hamas is asking for humanitarian assistance, and contributions to the people in Gaza, then the international community should tell them: Don’t expect us to assist you when you are violating the same rights of the other side.”
Hana Levi Julian