Gantz on call with Austin
Gantz on call with Austin Ariel Hermoni / IMoD

Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke on Friday with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.

Gantz briefed Austin on Israel's security challenges post the Gaza operation, reviewing Israeli efforts to achieve long-term quiet and recover Israeli captives and MIAs from Gaza, while empowering an alliance of moderates and the Palestinian Authority in particular.

Meanwhile, Egypt has told Hamas that any negotiations regarding a ceasefire must include a prisoner exchange, Al-Arabi Al-Jadid reported.

The newspaper said that Israel is insisting on linking the swap to discussions regarding reconstruction in Gaza. For its part, Hamas is continuing to insist that the two issues remain separate.

Two mentally unwell Israelis, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, are being held captive in Gaza. In addition, the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, two soldiers killed in the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, are also being held by Hamas.

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