Hamas is set to release four Israeli prisoners in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, reported the London based newspaper Al-Hayat Thursday morning.German officials visited Gaza several times and discussed the planned deal with Hamas leaders, reported Al-Hayat.The report was denied by Hamas official in Lebanon Osama Hamdan who claimed that "there is nothing new happening on the issue of exchanging prisoners with Israel." Hamdan spoke on Al Jazeera on Thursday, and blamed Israel for the long negotiation process.Avera Mengistu, an Israeli citizen of Ethiopian heritage, was captured by Hamas while walking across the Gazan border in 2014.
Hamas is also believed to be holding the remains of IDF soldiers Lt. Hadar Goldin and and Sgt. Oron Shaul who were killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. The Mengistu and Goldin families had been very vocal in their demands that the Israeli government should do more to help resolve these difficult situations. In the case of the Mengistu family, it is often pointed out the another captured Israeli, IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, gained the focus of the entire nation when he was captured by Hamas in 2006 and was eventually released during 2011 in a prisoners exchange deal that is hotly debated until today.
Demonstrations outside PM’s residence for Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, June 3, 2018 (Daphna Krause/The Jerusalem Post)