The family of Avera Mengistu, the Israeli civilian who has been held by the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza since 2014, reacted to the publication of a video purportedly featuring Avera by Hamas Monday.
Avera's mother, Agurnesh Mengistu, met in the evening with Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Glam. "It's difficult for me, that it takes as long as it takes until reliable information is received. Right now I don't want to share my feelings," said the mother.
Avra's brother, Yalo Mengistu, told Channel 12 News that he has difficulty saying for sure if the person in the video is his brother. "This is the first time I've seen him after eight years. He looks like him, but I can't say it's him for sure. The video is exciting and disturbing at the same time. He looks like Avera, but it's not 100% him. There is a resemblance."
Israeli authorities continue to examine the video and it is still not clear when it was filmed. It is clear to the security establishment that the timing of the announcement is deliberate and was made to coincide with the new Chief of Staff of the IDF. A security source said that "from our point of view, this event indicates the weakness of Hamas."
In the video, Mengistu is heard saying: "I am the prisoner Avera Mengistu, how long will I be here? Me and my friends are in captivity after long years. Where is the state and the people of Israel to free us?"
The video was published by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, just a few hours after Major General Herzi Halevi was inducted as the new IDF Chief of Staff.
The video begins with captions stating: "The al-Qassam Brigades emphasize the failure of the outgoing Chief of Staff "Kohavi" and his establishment, and his lie to his people and government with imaginary and delusional achievements. The incoming Chief of Staff "Halevi" should prepare himself to bear the burden of this failure and its consequences."