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Israel’s Eisenkot ‘sad’ soldiers captured in Gaza not brought home

Smoke rises after the Israeli Air Force carried out an air strike over Gaza City, Gaza on May 29, 2018 [Ashraf Amra / Anadolu Agency]
Smoke rises after the Israeli Air Force carried out an air strike over Gaza City, Gaza on May 29, 2018 [Ashraf Amra / Anadolu Agency]

The outgoing Israeli Chief of Staff, Gadi Eisenkot, said yesterday that he feels “sad” he could not bring Israeli soldiers captured in Gaza back home during his term.

While handing over his responsibilities to the new Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, Eisenkot said that “during my service, I saw it as a duty to carry out many tasks and to make every effort to return my soldiers home safely,” Safa reported.

Therefore, he advised his successor to carry on this goal: “I am looking at the army I leave behind me and see that it is a fit, prepared and powerful military that has grown stronger in wisdom and determination.”

Palestinian resistance in the besieged Gaza Strip captured two Israeli soldiers during the 51-day Israeli assault on Gaza in 2014. The Palestinian resistance did not give details about the soldiers’ conditions, but Israel claims they were killed.

Since then, a further two Israelis were captured in Gaza, though neither the Palestinian resistance nor Israel have given details about how they were captured.

In January 2018, the former Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that he was not aware whether the Israeli soldiers in Gaza were dead or alive.

News about mediations has been reported several times, but no deal had yet been reached. Hamas – which governs the Gaza Strip – wants its members to be released from Israeli prisons in return for the release of the Israeli soldiers.

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