Two Israeli citizens 'being held in Gaza, one by Hamas'

One of the men, Avraham Mengisto, reportedly went into the Palestinian territory of his own accord

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The Independent Online

Two Israeli citizens 'are being held against their will' in the Gaza strip with at least one of them reportedly held captive by Hamas.

Israel authorities confirmed on Thursday that it has "credible intelligence" that an Israeli citizen who crossed in the the Gaza strip is being held by Palestinian political faction Hamas.

An Israeli Defence Ministry statement said Avraham Mengisto, born in 1986, "is being held against his will by Hamas in Gaza". It said he crossed the border on foot in September.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Mengisto, a 28-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli from the city of Ashkelon, arrived at an Israeli beach on the Gaza border and crossed through a breach in the border fence.

The Israeli defence ministry has said the second man being held in Gaza is an Israeli citizen of Arab origin but provided no further details.

A spokesman for Hamas, Salah Bardawil, declined comment. "We don't have any information about it. Even if is true, we don't have instructions to talk about it," he said.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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