Hamas Claims It Turned Down Israeli Prisoner Exchange Offer
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.
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.