Netanyahu meets Egyptian spy chief, demands return of captives in Gaza


Staff member
Netanyahu meets Egyptian spy chief, demands return of captives in Gaza
Meeting comes as Israeli foreign minister tells counterpart in Cairo that reconstruction will not happen if no solution found for Israelis held by Hamas
By TOI staff and Agencies
30 May 2021

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded the return of Israeli captives being held in Gaza in a meeting with the head of Egypt’s intelligence services Sunday, as Jerusalem and Cairo held high-level talks centered on shoring up a truce with terror group Hamas in the Palestinian enclave. The meeting came as Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, that Jerusalem would not allow Gaza reconstruction to move ahead without a solution in place for the return of two civilians and the remains of two soldiers, held in Gaza for the better part of a decade. Ashkenazi’s trip to Cairo was the first by an Israeli foreign minister in 13 years.

Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed entered the Strip of their own accord in 2015, and their families say they suffer from mental illness. Hamas is also holding the bodies of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, two IDF soldiers who were killed during the 2014 Gaza war. Egypt has looked to take a leading role in following up on a ceasefire it helped broker earlier this month that halted 11 days of intense fighting between Israel and Gaza, including being involved in reconstruction efforts.