Hamas releases footage showing an Israeli prisoner on oxygen – The Times of Israel

On Tuesday, Hamas released a video showing Hisham al-Sayed, one of the two Israeli men held by the terror group in the Gaza Strip, in poor health – the first picture of the hostage seen in years.

In the video, the master can be seen attached to an oxygen mask. The footage was undated, but appears to have been recent, as a streaming conference was held on Al Jazeera Arabic that was seen behind the Israeli hostage on June 21.

The video also shows Mr.’s Israeli ID card.

The military wing of Hamas had claimed on Monday night that “the health of an Israeli prisoner has deteriorated”, after years in which repeated attempts to reach a prisoner exchange deal between the two sides reached a dead end.

Al-Sayed, an Israeli Bedouin, crossed into the Gaza Strip voluntarily in 2015. His family says he suffers from mental illness.

The footage was the first time his family had seen Mr. who had been in custody for seven years. The long silence made them fear the death of their son while he was in Hamas captivity.

“This is the first time I’ve seen his face in seven years. He helped us feel comfortable. He’s used to taking medicines and I hope they will give him,” his father, Shaaban al-Sayed, told Channel 12.

He appealed to Hamas, saying: Release him immediately. He is sick and needs medical attention at all times.”

On Tuesday, the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen channel said that Hamas is ready to conduct an “urgent humanitarian exchange of prisoners” to exchange al-Sayed for the release of all sick Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. Al-Mayadeen is seen as close to Hamas and Hezbollah.

Hamas’s stated request is a clear departure from the Islamist group’s usual approach to negotiation. Hamas has long demanded the release of prisoners just to prove the depiction of life. The tape movement was released on Tuesday without asking Israel anything.

The list of Palestinian patients includes many convicted of serious security crimes, including Nasser Abu Hamid, the Palestinian prisoner with cancer who orchestrated terrorist attacks during the second intifada.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office described Hamas’ decision to release al-Sayed’s film as a “desperate and abhorrent act.”

In a statement, Hamas designated Zora El-Sayed, as well as second Israeli captive Avira Mengistu, as soldiers.

“Hisham al-Sayed is not a soldier, but a mentally ill Israeli citizen who crossed the border into the Gaza Strip,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid described the video as “a despicable terrorist organization.” Lapid called on the World Health Organization and the Red Cross to condemn Hamas for its “inhumane behaviour”.

Israel holds Hamas directly responsible for the plight of civilians it holds in violation of international law. “They are two mentally ill people, and to hold them in captivity for years is an act of unimaginable cruelty,” Lapid said.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the “credibility of the video is in question” and that it was “intended to blackmail.”

The group is currently holding two surviving Israelis – Mengistu and al-Sayed – and is believed to be carrying the bodies of two Israeli soldiers: Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin.

Channel 12 reported that Israel transmitted messages to Hamas through various channels, saying that it would hold the movement responsible if any of its prisoners worsened.

Israel worked to secure the return of the two living men and the two bodies through a prisoner exchange deal with the movement. Egyptian intelligence, which maintains close ties with both Israel and Hamas, often acts as a key mediator.

Public Radio Kan reported on Tuesday night that Israel was considering using other mediators to resume the stalled talks. Bennett’s office blamed Hamas for “thwarting every opportunity” for the prisoner exchange deal.

Both Mengistu and Mr. had a history of mental illness. The two Israeli citizens voluntarily crossed the Gaza border between 2014 and 2015, and have since been held by Hamas.

Avira Mengistu (left) and Hisham El-Sayed. (Flash90 / courtesy)

The two soldiers, Shaul and Goldin, were killed during the 2014 Gaza war. Their families have repeatedly asked the Israeli government to press for a prisoner exchange deal to receive the bodies of their children.

Israel and Hamas held indirect talks in an attempt to reach a prisoner exchange deal. A similar deal to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from the clutches of Hamas saw the release of 1,027 Palestinian security prisoners, many of them convicted terrorists.

The 2011 exchange to secure Shalit’s release was highly controversial, with many in the Israeli security establishment at the time claiming it was lopsided in favor of Hamas. Many of the 1,027 prisoners subsequently released returned to terrorism – such as Yahya al-Sinwar, who is now the governor of Gaza for Hamas.

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