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    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem June 28, 2015

    Netanyahu Breaks Silence on Two Israelis Held in Gaza, Blames Hamas

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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Israeli authorities are working for the return of two Israelis who crossed the border into Gaza.

    TEL AVIV (Sputnik) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday demanded the release of two Israeli nationals that are believed to be held in the Gaza Strip, local media reported.

    Two young Israelis of Ethiopian and Arab origin separately crossed into the Hamas-controlled Gaza exclave and went missing almost a year ago. One of them is 26-year-old Avera Mengistu. The identity of the second man, a Bedouin from the Negev desert, has not been revealed.

    The Jerusalem Post newspaper said that in his first public statement on the matter, Netanyahu placed all responsibility for their disappearance on the Hamas militant group.

    "We are working for the return of two Israelis who crossed the border into Gaza… We see Hamas as responsible for their safety," the prime minister said.

    According to Israeli media, Hamas could be planning to swap the Israelis for militants held in Israel’s jails. In 2006, they abducted an Israeli soldier in a raid and kept him captive for five years before exchanging him for a thousand of Palestinians.


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