New hostage crisis feared as Israel says two held in Gaza

COGAT said that “according to credible intelligence”, Mengistu is being held “against his will” by Hamas.


The Defence Ministry said Israel had “appealed to global and regional interlocutors to demand (Mangisto’s) immediate release and verify his well-being” and would “continue to pursue the release and return of the citizen to Israel”.

“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.

Mashaal’s comments followed several hints from Hamas that it was holding Mengistu and another live Israeli captive, in addition to the bodies of Goldin and Shaul. “We’re sick of it. We want to go public with the story”, he said. It is unclear why it chose to publicize the issue ten months after the incident. He said Israel holds Hamas responsible for the men’s well-being.

The statement said that an unnamed Arab-Israeli citizen was also being held in Gaza, but it gave no further details of the case.

A blanket embargo was imposed past year on publishing any details about his case, and was only lifted on Thursday at the request of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

It added Israel had reached out to Hamas, Gaza’s political leadership, for information on Mangisto, as well as to worldwide mediators to assure his well-being.

The Ethiopian immigrant, Avraham Mengistu, 29, crossed into Gaza last September through a broken fence on the Mediterranean coast marking the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

He is from the city of Ashkelon, Israeli media reported.

The one year anniversary of the 50-day summer war between Hamas and Israel was an opportunity for a show of force for the al-Qassam Brigades as they showcased two new missile models that they claim were made locally.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his government is working for the return of the two Israelis and that he holds Hamas responsible for their welfare. Mengistu’s family say that the Shin Bet internal security service informed them of Avera’s disappearance and that since then, Penina Tamano-Shata, who was at the time a Yesh Atid Member of the Knesset and is of Ethiopian descent, took up their case and arranged meetings with senior army officials.

Israeli Channel 10 broadcast an interview with a man it identified as Mr Mengisto’s father, holding up a statement critical of Israeli authorities.

Israel will “engage” with the global Criminal Court probing alleged war crimes, but only to question the tribunal’s right to investigate Palestinian complaints, an official said on Thursday.

“My son is not sane”. He called on the global community “which expresses its concern for the humanitarian situation in Gaza to issue a clear call for the release of the two civilians”.

There are 135,000 Ethiopians Jews in Israel and many say they have suffered racism and discrimination.

He said he will meet with the family “soon”.


“We’re facing a very cynical and cruel foe who rejects the humanitarian obligation of returning innocent civilians to their country”.

Israeli defense officials: 2 Israeli citizens held in Gaza - Daily Journal