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November 20, 2017 3:24 pm

Family of Israeli Man Held Captive by Hamas in Gaza Urges International Action to Free Loved One

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

Israeli Ambassador to UN Danny Danon with Avraham Avera Mengistu’s mother and brother on Monday in New York City. Photo: Israeli UN Mission.

The brother of an Israeli man who has been imprisoned by Hamas in the Gaza Strip for more than three years urged the international community on Thursday to act to bring his sibling home.

During a visit to the United Nations headquarters in New York City, Ilan Gashao Mengistu — the brother of 30-year-old Avraham Avera Mengistu, an Ashkelon resident who crossed into Gaza on his own accord in September 2014 and has not been heard from since — accused Hamas of “toying with the life of a mentally disabled civilian.”

“They are playing a cynical and cruel game with the life of a man who has never harmed a soul,” Mengistu — standing between his mother Agarnesh and Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon — continued. “I have a brother — he is helpless — and he needs your help.”

“Look at my mother,” he added. “She is a mother like all other mothers, and she deserves to know the fate of her son.”

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“We are here today, at the United Nations, to call on the international community to put the full weight of its authority on anyone who can help release my brother,” Mengistu declared. “Pressure the international organizations that have showed weakness and helplessness. And of course, pressure Hamas, which is holding an ill individual captive more than three years, and is responsible for his fate.”

Danon stated, “All those who demand an end to the humanitarian plight for the residents of Gaza must also demand the immediate release of all Israelis held by Hamas… Israel will not rest until all of our citizens return home.”

Last week, members of the Mengistu family met in Washington, DC with several congressional representatives, as well President Donald Trump’s international negotiations envoy, Jason Greenblatt.

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