Gazans celebrate the 27th anniversary of Hamas' founding.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A senior Hamas official suggested Monday that his organization may be holding captured Israeli soldiers and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not being honest with the Israeli public about the truth of events.
The source, who refused to reveal his identity, addressed the destiny of missing soldiers in Gaza in a short statement to Hamas’s Al-Aksa television station. “Netanyahu should closely check his soldiers,” the Hamas official said. “He should stop misleading the families of missing soldiers.”
Senior Hamas official Halil al-Hayeh had previously said of reports that IDF soldiers were captive in the hands of Hamas that, “we will not give any information on the matter.” He added that “in the Kassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, they have the ability to free all of the [Palestinian] prisoners.”
Similar comments were voiced on Palestinian Prisoner Day last week by Hamas spokesman Abu Obaida who turned to Palestinian prisoners, of whom there are reportedly 6,550 in Israel, vowing to them that their day of release from prison was coming soon, without elaborating.
During Operation Protective Edge, the last instance of fighting in Gaza, the Kassam Brigades announced that they had captured IDF soldier Oron Shaul on July 20, east of Gaza City.
In Israel, Shaul was eventually pronounced killed in action, after several days in which his fate was unknown.
Israel accuses Hamas of holding the body of Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was killed in clashes east of Rafah on August 1 after he had originally been feared kidnapped. Hamas has neither confirmed nor denied the claim.