Family of Ethiopian-Israeli man held by Hamas receives video of his crossing into Gaza


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The family of an Ethiopian-Israeli man held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip after he voluntarily crossed the border fence was given a copy of video footage showing his crossing.

Avraham Abera Mengistu, 30, of Ashkelon, is believed to have voluntarily climbed over the security fence between Israel and Gaza in September 2014 and has not been heard from since. He is mentally ill, according to his family.

Mengistu immigrated with his family to Israel in 1991 when he was 5 years old.

The Israeli army turned the security video footage over to the family on Saturday night, The Times of Israel reported. The family reportedly saw the footage in the months after Mengistu went missing, but in January requested a copy of it. The exchange was reportedly was approved by the IDF chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.

Hamas has tacitly admitted through video posted on social media that it holds Mengistu, as well as a Bedouin-Israeli man who is also said to be mentally ill and crossed into Gaza. Hamas additionally holds the remains of two Israeli soldiers, Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

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