Israel reportedly demanded that Hamas release him immediately.
Two Israeli Civilians Held Capture by Hamas, Sources Confirm
On Thursday, a year after Operation Protective Edge began, Israeli censors released for publication details of two security situations previously unknown to the public.
On 7 September last year, Abraham Mengistu, an Israeli citizen of Ethiopian origin crossed the border fence via the Zikim beach, which borders the Gaza Strip. Mengistu is said to be born in 1986 and previously lived in the southern city of Ashkelon,.
Information from Israel’s security and intelligence bodies indicate that Mengistu is being held by Hamas, the terrorist organization which controls the Gaza Strip. Despite global sources having published claims that Hamas were holding Israeli civilians several times, the story had not been picked up in Israel.
Israel appealed to international bodies, and officials across the Middle East, to try and find out the condition of Mengistu. The young man is said to be known to Israel’s welfare services, and is thought to have various medical issues.
A military source told the Tazpit News Agency that Israel would continue to make efforts to put an end to the case and ensure the return of their citizen.
The Mayor of Ashkelon, Itamar
Shimoni, spoke at the home of the Mengistu family Thursday, promising “The city of Ashkelon is with you from the first moment. We will strengthen you, and hope that your son will return to you quickly.”
In addition, it was permitted for release that an Israeli citizen of Bedouin heritage, whose name remains censored in Israel, is also thought to be currently held captive in Gaza by Hamas. A military source told Tazpit that the young man had previously crossed the border into Gaza several times.
Last year, Israel negotiated unsuccessfully with Hamas in an attempt to secure the return of remains of two IDF soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who lost their lives during the conflict last summer.