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February 8, 2017 5:05 pm

Hamas Claims It Turned Down Israeli Prisoner Exchange Offer

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Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on Jan. 31, 2017. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90.

Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on Jan. 31, 2017. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90.

JNS.org — Hamas claimed Wednesday that it recently turned down an Israeli offer for a prisoner exchange deal meant to secure the return of two civilians and the remains of two soldiers being held by the terror group in the Gaza Strip.

A senior Hamas official was quoted by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera news network as saying that the Israeli offer failed to meet Hamas’s basic demands.

Those being held captive by the terror organization include: the bodies of Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul and Lt. Hadar Goldin, killed in separate battles during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, and Ethiopian-Israeli Avera Mengistu and Bedouin Hisham al-Sayed — both suffering from mental health issues — who crossed willingly into Gaza in 2014 and 2015, respectively, where they were captured by Hamas.

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Earlier this week, Arab media reported that Hamas rejected an Israeli offer to exchange Bilal Razaineh, a Hamas operative being held in Israel, for one of the prisoners in Gaza, citing humanitarian concerns.

Razaineh, the brother of a top Hamas security official, suffers from a heart condition. According to reports, Israel sought to release him to secure the return of either Mengistu or al-Sayed.

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