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Israel admits to contact with Hamas in preparation for prisoner exchange deal 

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - APRIL 10: Prime Minster of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu hugs his wife, Sara during his after vote speech on April 10, 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz each declared that they won Tuesday's election after inconclusive exit polls were broadcast on the three Israeli networks. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

The Israel Broadcasting Corporation reported on Thursday that the caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held the first phone session of the ministerial committee for prisoners and missing persons affairs last week, regarding the ongoing contact with Hamas to carry out the exchange and return of the missing Israelis held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Broadcasting Corporation described this as: “An acknowledgment of making indirect contact with Hamas about the deal.”

It added that the chief of the file in the cabinet of the missing Israelis, Yaron Blum, informed the families of the two missing soldiers about these correspondences.

Hamas detains four Israelis: soldiers Shaul Aaron and Hadar Golden, who were captured by Hamas in the war that broke out in the summer of 2014 (Israel claims they were killed, while Hamas gives no information regarding their situation), in addition to Abraham Mengistu and Hashem Badawi Al-Sayed, who hold Israeli citizenship – Mengistu is Ethiopian and Al-Sayed is Arab. They entered Gaza voluntarily after the war in Gaza war, at different times.

READ: The Israeli military opposes its politicians’ annexation of the Jordan Valley

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