Hamas claims Israel offered them a new prisoner swap deal in exchange for the bodies of the two fallen IDF soldiers and the private Israeli citizen held captive by the terrorist organization.

Hadar Goldin (left) and Oron Shaul (right)

Hadar Goldin (left) and Oron Shaul (right) Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas terror organization, told Al-Jazeera: “We received a new prisoner exchange offer from Israel through intermediaries.” The Izz ad-Din Al Qassam Brigades added that “the format suggested by Israel did not address the least of our demands.”

The terror organization found the bodies of IDF soldiers Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and Deputy Sergeant Oron Shaul and have taken captive a private citizen named Avraham Mengistu. It appears Hamas already likely rejected the Israeli proposal to give them back their member Bilal Karzai in exchange for the living Israelis being held hostage by them.

Avraham Mengistu, held captive by Hamas, wandered into Gaza in 2014

Avraham Mengistu, held captive by Hamas, wandered into Gaza in 2014 Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

A month ago, Hamas sources related to the Egyptian mediation: “Hamas welcomed the Egyptian mediation on the issue on the condition that Israel will release the Shalit-Exchange prisoners who have been re-arrested.” Their condition refers to approximately 60 terrorists who have been detained since their release in 2011, some of which were involved in the abduction and murder of three Israeli boys in 2014. Hamas demands these preconditions be met before any negotiations are conducted. 

In addition, Arab media outlets reported that senior level Hamas terrorist Mousa Abu Marzook met with Cairo officials and discussed the issue of the kidnapped and missing Israelis in Gaza. “We do not rule out the fact that the issue was raised at the request of the Israeli government,” he said.

Two days later, the Israeli Security Cabinet convened for the first time in two and a half years in order to discuss ways to return the bodies of fallen soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, and the Israeli citizen being held in the Gaza Strip.

At the end of the cabinet meeting, a plan of action to promote the issue and set a fixed policy for the treatment of the bodies of Hamas terrorists killed during attacks was unanimously decided upon. Regarding the decision, the bodies of terrorists will not to be returned to their families but rather will be buried.

“We have already given up speaking with the Israeli Government and are now just waiting for action,” Shaul’s family said in response to the Cabinet’s discussion. “For us, nothing has changed and we are waiting for a decision lead by the Prime Minister to return Oron home from the war.”