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September 1, 2016 / 28 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘hostage’

Hundreds Rally to Rescue American Robert Levinson from Iran

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Some 400 people rallied in Coral Springs, Florida on Saturday for the release of former FBI agent Bob Levinson, who was taken into custody by Iranian police in 2007.

Levinson was captured while on an unauthorized CIA mission on Kish Island, while allegedly trying to determine the status of the country’s race towards nuclear weaponry.

This is the ninth year that Levinson is missing – the longest of any hostage.

If he is still alive, Levinson turns 68 this coming Thursday.

Levinson’s family told reporters they were “devasted” that he was the only hostage not included in the U.S.-Iran prisoner swap back in January.

The family has met with top Obama administration officials but received little information other than reassurances the government would redouble its efforts to pressure Iran to “find” the former FBI agent.

Seven Iranian prisoners were traded in exchange for the five Americans who were freed in January, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian and a Christian pastor. But Iranian government officials who originally discussed his release with American 67-year-old Levinson’s whereabouts. However, he was seen in Iranian custody several years ago by an eyewitness, according to media reports.

Hana Levi Julian

Japanese Journalist Held Captive in Syria by Unnamed Terror Group

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

A Japanese journalist is being held captive by in Syria, according to Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who did not name the group holding Yasuda Jumpei. Nor did he confirm the report of the abduction, which allegedly occurred in July.

“We are doing our best… and making full use of various intelligence networks,” he said, but gave no details.

Information about the capture of the journalist was received from the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) organization, Reuters reported. RSF urged Japan to do all it can to save Yasuda, who was a friend and colleague of Japanese war correspondent Kenjo Goto, another journalist who was captured and executed late last year by the Da’esh (ISIS) terror group.

Yasuda himself had been previously abducted and held hostage by an armed group in 2004 while traveling near a combat zone in Iraq. He disappeared in July shortly after crossing the border from Turkey into Syria.

The organization said “an armed group” has been holding Yasuda hostage after kidnapping him shortly after entered Syria in an area controlled by the Al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front).

The terrorist organization is demanding a ransom and has begun a countdown for payment. The group is threatening to execute the journalist or to sell him to another group if no ransom is paid.

Earlier this year, the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization released a video documenting the beheading by the group of journalist Kenji Goto and his friend, a Japanese contractor.

Hana Levi Julian

Mengisto ‘Did Not Know What He Was Doing,’ Says Brother

Monday, August 17th, 2015

The family of Avraham Mengisto held a rally outside Hadarim Prison on Monday to express their humanitarian demand that their son be released by Hamas from captivity in Gaza.

It was a small gathering – just 20 people, including all of the relatives – held at the time Palestinian Authority Arabs came to visit their own family members incarcerated at the prison.

Avraham’s brother Ilan addressed the visitors, and those gathered, saying, “White you are visiting your loved ones in Israel, Avera Mengisto, an innocenet 29 year old civilian, is being held in Gaza.

“Despite the fact that he is not well and was never a soldier, Hamas continues to hold him hostage and refuses to release him or to give any information about his whereabouts.”

Ilan Mengisto also accused those visiting their prisoner relatives of being “accomplices in the captivity of a helpless man who crossed into Gaza, because he did not know what he was doing.”

Following the rally, organizers told media, “We have chosen to take responsibility without any help from the state, in order to secure the release of Mengisto.”

The family has maintained its silence on the case since the 29-year-old man climbed over the security fence near the seashore and crossed into Gaza on September 7, 2014.

He was spotted at the time by IDF soldiers guarding the border, who called to him to stop – but he kept going and by the time they got to him, he had disappeared into Gaza.

Due to a gag order on the case and advice from the government the family was silent, trusting authorities to continue negotiating with Hamas for their son’s release. Since talks have produced no result, however, the family has now decided to begin publicizing its own demands on humanitarian grounds – with Monday’s small rally a first step in the process.

A second individual – a Bedouin man from southern Israel – likewise crossed into Gaza a number of months ago and has since been held hostage. His identity remains protected under gag order and the request of the family.

 

Hana Levi Julian

Mengisto Family Protest Monday Seeks Son’s Release From Gaza

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

The family of Avraham Mengisto says it will speak out publicly and demonstrate Monday for the first time in an effort to free their son after 11 months of captivity in Gaza.

They have held their silence for nearly a year in order to allow talks with Hamas for their son’s release to proceed.

But the Ethiopian immigrant is not free, and there has been no progress despite the Israeli government’s ongoing request for the family to ‘stay quiet’ while negotiations continue.

On Monday, the family says it will hold a demonstration outside the Hadarim Detention Center to finally raise the national awareness on what has happened to their son.

The choice of venue is strategic, and poignant.

The family has scheduled its demonstration during visitation hours, when the families of Palestinian Authority Arab security prisoners are allowed to visit their own imprisoned sons.

Accompanying the Mengisto family will be Kibbutz Movement leader Yoel Marshak, who headed the campaign to free former kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held hostage in Gaza for over five years.

The family is aware that this case is very different from that of Shalit.

For one thing, Mengisto was not kidnapped; he crossed directly into Gaza on his own two feet, of his own accord.

But more to the point, the 29-year-old Ashkelon man is known to be mentally ill. He did not serve in the IDF because of his condition, in fact.

Mengisto has still been held hostage in Gaza by Hamas anyway since crossing the border fence on September 8, 2014.

This is a strictly humanitarian case.

“We want to put pressure on Hamas using the families of the prisoners,” said a spokesperson for the family.

Hana Levi Julian

Update: Hostages Freed in Paris Primark Mall

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Eighteen hostages held hostage in Paris early Monday for nearly five hours have been freed, according to Infos140. The armed men who took them captive have — for the moment — disappeared, the news service reported.

The employees were held hostage by two or three gunmen inside a store at the Primark mall in Villeneuve-la-Garenne in northern Paris.

“Around 6:30 am two or three armed criminals went into the Primark mall for what we think was initially an attempt at armed robbery,” a police source told the Australian Herald Sun.

A store employee sent a text to her boyfriend at around 7 am, telling him she and others were taken hostage by two armed men, according to Le Figaro, a French newspaper. All of the hostages were store employees, according to the AFP news agency.

Police blocked off access to the area and an elite special forces unit was deployed to the scene. The gunmen made no demands and no injuries were reported.

Numerous members on the Twitter social media site posted a flurry of scornful tweets, as one pointed out: “People still talking about robbery in #paris #primark in the morning?!! what the heck?!! something to hide?”

The motivation behind the entire incident is still not clear. Police are searching for the gunmen and an investigation has been launched.

Hana Levi Julian

Tony Blair Mediating with Hamas for Missing Israelis

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization has identified Tony Blair as the mediator in talks with Israel over two missing civilians possibly being held hostage by the group in Gaza.

One of the two, Avraham Mengisto, is a 28-year-old Ethiopian immigrant who is mentally ill. The second man is a Negev Bedouin from the town of Hura.

A senior Hamas official told the Rusian media outlet Sputnik on Saturday the former Middle East envoy to the Quartet had met officially with Hamas to discuss the missing Israelis.

Israel has refused to identify the mediator.

Blair has met at least twice recently with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal at the terror group’s international heaquarters in Doha, Qatar.

Hamas has also denied that Germany is serving as the mediator for the matter.

Hana Levi Julian

Surprise! White House Reveals Kayla Mueller Was NOT ‘Last American Hostage’

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

One wonders who was the more surprised Tuesday: the White House staff or the American people, upon being told there is at least one more U.S. national and possibly more being held hostage in Syria.

In either case, it makes no difference to humanitarian aide worker Kayla Mueller, who was being held captive by Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). She was officially confirmed dead by White House officials Tuesday night.

Daesh claimed last Friday that Mueller died in a Jordanian air strike targeting the group in Raqqa, Syria. Jordan has intensified its attacks on the terror group following its barbaric execution of a Jordanian pilot captured after his fighter jet crashed in December 2014 in northeastern Syria. The group released an execution video of the pilot being burned alive in a metal cage earlier this month, but said the victim had been killed on January 3, about 10 days after he was captured.

The terrorist group sent photos of Mueller’s dead body to her family to confirm her death, a detail not immediately released when her death was first confirmed to media. According to a New York Times report published Wednesday, the Mueller family contacted Daesh separately in order to obtain the proof of their daughter’s death. In return they received at least three photos: One showed her wrapped in a Muslim funeral shroud and in two others she was alive, wearing a hijab and with her face partly covered. In all three photos, her face was reportedly covered in bruises.

The circumstances of Mueller’s death have remained unclear; high-ranking sources within the U.S. government have told media she could have died in a building next to a weapons storage facility targeted in an air strike. Or not.

However, intelligence officials have said that Daesh treats its female hostages differently, often forcing them to convert to Islam and then “marrying” them off to male commanders of the terrorist group.

Three male Americans have also died in the hands of Daesh: two journalists and another humanitarian aide worker trying to help Syrians caught in the crossfire of the savage civil war ripping apart the country. All three were beheaded by the group.

According to a report by Haaretz, Mueller volunteered for the International Solidarity Movement, living and working with Arabs in the Palestinian Authority. In a blog post about her stay in Israel and the PA, she posted the following:

“Do not be fooled, resistance lives… Oppression wails from the soldiers radio and floats through tear gas clouds in the air … But resistance is nestled in the cracks in the wall, resistance flows from the minaret 5 times a day and resistance sits quietly in jail knowing its time will come again. Resistance lives in the grieving mother’s wails and resistance lives in the anger at the lies broadcasted across the globe. Though it is sometimes hard to see and even harder sometimes to harbor, resistance lives. Do not be fooled, resistance lives.”

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest refused to identify the newly-revealed American captive being held in Syria. Nor would he say which group kidnapped the hostage, or when the victim was seized.

“We have avoided discussing the individual cases of Americans who have been held hostage, but we are aware of other American hostages being held in the region,” Earnest said, according to Reuters.

“I’m not going to get into the specific discussions of the cases of individuals who are being held hostage, principally because we don’t believe that it’s in their best interests for me to discuss them publicly,” Earnest told reporters, according to Reuters. “But there have been public reports of at least one other American hostage being held in Syria,” he said.

The family of Austin Tice, a journalist who disappeared in Damascus in August 2012, held a news conference in Washington last week about his case.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/surprise-white-house-reveals-kayla-mueller-was-not-last-american-hostage/2015/02/11/

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