Two Israelis who crossed into Gaza were never Hamas hostages
Israeli media made much ado Thursday about an Israeli-Ethiopian man, Avera Mengistu, 28, “presumed held captive by Hamas” – after climbing over a border fence from a public beach in Ashkelon adjoining the coastal strip, and a Bedouin man from the Israeli Negev “held in custody” in Gaza.
DEBKAfile clarifies these misleading reports. Mengistu, who is mentally disturbed, keeps on climbing the fence in to the Gaza Strip and has done so since last September. The Hamas authorities always send him back. He will no doubt try again. As for the second case, dozens of Bedouin are known to cross back and forth from Israel to Gaza and Sinai on a regular basis. No one knows what their business is – whether they visit tribal kin or are part of the Sinai Bedouin smuggling rings. There is nothing new about either of the two cases.