The Hamas terrorist group on Friday admitted that it is holding two live Israeli hostages and two bodies of dead Israelis, while accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of lying about their impending release.
Netanyahu “is lying to his people” and “deceiving the families of the captive soldiers,” Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida said regarding reports that both sides are nearing a prisoner exchange deal.
“There are no talks or negotiations relating to the prisoners. The enemy will not get information about the four without paying a clear price before and after the negotiations,” Obeida added.
A report earlier this week in the U.K.-based Arabic daily newspaper Asharq al-Awsat said that international mediators were attempting to broker a prisoner swap for the two Israeli captives and the remains of the two dead Israelis.
The deceased Israelis held by Hamas are former IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were killed during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. The two live captives are Avraham Mengistu, an Ethiopian Jew, and an unnamed Israeli Bedouin. They are both believed to have crossed into Gaza on their own before being captured.