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Jason Greenblatt Meets With Families Of Israelis Held In Gaza

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, met with the families of Israelis believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza.

Greenblatt, who arrived in Israel this week, met Monday evening with the families of Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed to discuss the situation of the two men, a statement from the White House said. The family of Jumaa Abu Ghanima, was unable to attend the meeting.

Greenblatt “expressed outrage that Hamas has not allowed the Israelis, some of whom may need medical assistance, to communicate with their families and return home,” according to the readout. He also “expressed his sincere hope that all three Israelis would be returned to their families immediately.”

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. Sayed also crossed into Gaza on his own and is said to be mentally ill. Hamas in Gaza also holds the remains of Lt. Hadar Goldin and St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul, both killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

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