Hamas publishes photos it claims are of Hadar Goldin’s rifle

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar warned that the terrorist group would give Israel 'a limited time' to reach a prisoner swap deal.

 Hamas photo of Lt. Hadar Goldin's rifle. (photo credit: HAMAS)
Hamas photo of Lt. Hadar Goldin's rifle.
(photo credit: HAMAS)

Hamas published a photo of the Tavor rifle it claimed belonged to IDF Lt. Hadar Goldin, whose body has been held captive in Gaza for eight years, on Wednesday.

The publication of the photo comes as the terrorist group marks 35 years since it was launched.

Goldin was kidnapped during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 in an ambush by Hamas terrorists. St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul's body was also kidnapped in a separate attack during the 2014 operation. Hamas is also holding civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed captive in Gaza.

Tzur Goldin, Hadar Goldin's brother, responded to the photo on Wednesday afternoon, tweeting "The IDF spokesman has the time to be interviewed by the media but not to talk to my family that just went through an attack by Hamas? So far no one has contacted us."

Sinwar says Hamas, Israel holding 'secret negotiations' on prisoner swap

The leader of the Hamas movement in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, stated during a ceremony on Wednesday that Hamas has been holding “secret negotiations” with Israel concerning the captives its holding in Gaza.

 Hamas photo of Lt. Hadar Goldin's rifle. (credit: HAMAS) Hamas photo of Lt. Hadar Goldin's rifle. (credit: HAMAS)

The terrorist movement is demanding the release of all prisoners rearrested after being released in the Shalit deal and all female, minor, sick and elderly prisoners, as well any bodies being held by Israel, according to Sinwar.

“We will give the occupation a limited time to complete this deal, otherwise we will close the file of the four soldiers forever, and we will find another way to liberate our prisoners, God willing,” said Sinwar. Mengistu and al-Sayed are both civilians, but Hamas refers to them as soldiers.

In June, a former National Security Council official referred to as "Maoz" told KAN Reshet Bet radio that Israel was once "very close" to reaching a prisoner swap agreement to return the Israelis being held captive in the Gaza Strip.

"We have two civilians and two soldiers who are there and this needs to always be in front of our eyes and we need to do everything in order to return them. Hamas needs to understand that there is a line, a strong line, and not a line that is blurred all the time and is crossed," added Maoz. "I think that we were very close to a solution concerning the captives and missing, again, because of reasons that I don't want to get into at the moment, we did not reach a solution."

Last year, Moshe Tal, the former IDF official responsible for captives, told Army Radio that "There was a window of opportunity and I have a hard time explaining why Israel froze it. Some will say that the political reality sets the tone and some will say that we are traumatized by the Shalit deal. I do not take it lightly, but trauma is not a work plan."

Photos comes months after Hamas published footage of other captive

In June, Hamas published footage showing al-Sayed lying in bed and breathing through an oxygen mask. Hamas warned that al-Sayed's health condition was deteriorating at the time, although there have been no public updates since then.