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Israeli prime minister confirms citizen captured by Hamas in Gaza is alive

Israeli prime minister confirms citizen captured by Hamas in Gaza is alive
Israeli prime minister confirms citizen captured by Hamas in Gaza is alive Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
By Reuters
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JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Tuesday that an Israeli citizen held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip was alive, a day after the Palestinian Islamist militant group released a video showing the man appealing for help.

On Monday Hamas released footage showing Avera Mengistu, an Israeli said by his family to be suffering from mental health problems and who has been held by Hamas since he crossed into Gaza in 2014.

"Yesterday we received confirmation of what we knew this whole time, that Avera is alive," Netanyahu said on Tuesday. "This is a young man, not in good health and the responsibility of his fate lies entirely on Hamas."

The video, showing Mengistu seated in front of a blank wall and appealing to Israel for help, was the first image shown of him since his capture but there was no immediate official confirmation from Israel that the footage was genuine.

However his brother Ilan said the family believed it was.

"My mother is on the verge of tears. She hasn't stopped watching the video," he told Reuters on Monday. "Her hope, her great happiness will be seeing him home safe and sound."

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