The Times of Israel reports on the Hamas claims:
Hamas on Friday publicly acknowledged for the first time that it was holding four Israelis: two Israeli citizens who crossed into Gaza on their own accord and the bodies of two soldiers killed in 2014’s Gaza war.
The group published photos of the four: slain soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, 29-year-old Avraham Mengistu, and a Bedouin-Israeli citizen whose name has not been released for publication.
Hamas denied reports in recent days that Israel and Hamas may be nearing a prisoner swap for the four, with a spokesman for the group claimed the reports were misdirection by the Israeli government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Netanyahu is lying to his people” and “deceiving the families of the captive soldiers,” spokesman Abu Obeida said in a statement.
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