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Israel: Netanyahu's office responds to 'release captive' call by family

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd R) holds weekly cabinet meeting at the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) in Jerusalem, on January 08, 2023 [Israeli Government Press Office/Anadolu Agency]
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, on January 08, 2023 [Israeli Government Press Office/Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli Prime Minister's office said on Monday that the government is investing all of its resources to get the release of the captives held in the Gaza Strip. The statement was made in response to a video of Israeli Avera Mengistu broadcast on social media by the Palestinian resistance in Gaza.

"The State of Israel invests all its resources and efforts to return its captive and missing sons home, to the State of Israel," said Netanyahu's office. However, it did not verify the video's authenticity. "We call on the international community to condemn Hamas for its inhumane conduct and demand it immediately to release the citizens and bodies it is holding."

Speaking to Kan public radio, Israeli Army Spokesman Ran Kochav said that the authenticity of the video is being evaluated. "We are looking into this video," he explained. "I hope the video is authentic and that Mengistu is in full health. It's hard for me to say what the level of credibility of the video is."

Mengistu's mother has said that it is her son in the video. "His forehead, his face, it's him," she insisted.

READ: Israel called upon by family to seek release of captive in Gaza

The military wing of Hamas, Al-Qassam Brigades, published the video early on Monday. It is said to show Avera Mengistu, one of the four Israeli captives being held in the Gaza Strip. The others have been named as Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul, who were captured during the 2014 Israeli military offensive against Gaza, and Hisham Al-Sayed who was taken captive in 2015.

In the video, Mengistu asks for help from Israel for his release: "I am the captive Avera Mengistu. How long will I be here in captivity, me and my friends? After many years of pain, where are the country and the people of Israel?"

Before the release of the video, Al-Qassam Brigades said that it would "reveal information that will cause the incoming Chief of Staff to rethink everything regarding the issue of the missing soldiers in Gaza." It added that it would challenge new Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, Herzi Halevi, who was sworn in on Monday.

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