Two Israeli citizens held in Gaza, at least one of them by the Hamas militant group, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday.
The Israeli defense body identified one as Avraham Mangisto, 26, of Ethiopian origin, crossed the border of his own choice last September 7.
Nearly two weeks after the end of the Israeli war on Gaza and had been missing since then.
The Associated Press quoted an unnamed official saying Mangisto was believed to be mentally unstable.
The second is an Israeli Bedouin Arab man from Israel’s Negev desert, who was not named, had crossed the border several times before. Israeli newspaper Haaretz said
A situation that could lead to demands for a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas.
“We are working for the return of the two Israelis who crossed the border into Gaza,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
There is no details on how or when the Israeli Arab had entered the territory.
Israeli officials refused to say how long he has been held in Gaza or how he got there. They also would not say which group had him in custody.
“According to credible intelligence,” Mangisto is being held “against his will” by Hamas, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said.
COGAT added that “Israel has appealed to international and regional interlocutors to demand Mangisto’s immediate release and verify his well-being”.
On Thursday after the court lifted an order, The two cases were cleared for publication.
Hamas has been in control of the small coastal territory since 2007, has declined to comment about the reports, sources say.
Last 2006, Israeli soldier Sgt Gilad Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid by Hamas. In 2011, Shalit was released in a controversial exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. IMAGE REUTERS