Report: Israel offered prisoner exchange to Hamas through intermediaries

Wednesday's report came after a claim earlier this week that Hamas had turned down another Israeli prisoner-swap offer.

February 8, 2017 11:09
1 minute read.
Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a rally in memory of their seven comrades

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a rally in memory of their seven comrades, who were killed when a tunnel collapsed close to the Gaza Strip's eastern border with Israel. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Initial Arabic reports on Wednesday morning suggested that Israel has extended an offer for a new prisoner exchange to Hamas through intermediaries.

Hamas's military wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigade, initially tweeted the report claiming that the alleged offer did not meet the terrorism group's "minimum demands," according to Al Jazeera.

The Israeli government has not commented on the matter. 

Wednesday's report came after a previous report that Hamas had turned down another Israeli prisoner-swap offer that would have allowed for one Israeli captive to be exchanged for one Hamas member.

According to a source from the terrorist organization who spoke with Israel Radio on Sunday, the offer proposed to exchange Hamas member Bilal Razaineh for one of two Israelis who are thought to be alive in the Gaza Strip.

Razaineh, 24, was caught attempting to enter Israel in November and is said to be a high-ranking Hamas operative, as he has reportedly been a member of the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, for nearly a decade.

The offer was said to be a “humanitarian exchange,” due to the fact that the Israeli nationals who crossed into Gaza in recent years and are currently thought to be in Hamas captivity reportedly suffer from mental or psychological illnesses. It was turned down because it had to be “all or nothing,” according to the source, who added that Hamas would welcome a deal with Israel that included Egypt as a mediator.

Israeli-Ethiopian Avraham “Abera” Mengistu was last seen in Israel on September 7, 2014, when soldiers saw him climb the fence into the Gaza Strip.

Hisham al-Sayed, a young Beduin man who suffers from schizophrenia, was last seen when he crossed into the Gaza Strip in April 2015. It remains unclear whether a third Israeli citizen, Juma Abu Anima, is also being held by the terror group.

Hamas is also thought to be holding the bodies of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, two IDF soldiers killed in the 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

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