The Latest: Netanyahu says Israel working to release men

AP News
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Posted: Jul 09, 2015 8:54 AM
The Latest: Netanyahu says Israel working to release men

JERUSALEM (AP) — The latest on the news of two Israeli citizens being held in Gaza (all times local) :

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3:50 p.m.

Israel's prime minister says the country is working to return two of its citizens said to be held in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he spoke to the family of one of the men, an Israeli Ethiopian, telling them he "has not spared any effort" to return the man to Israel. He said Israel holds Hamas responsible for the men's well-being.

Netanyahu said he appointed a representative to deal with the matter and liaise with the missing men's families.

He said he expects the international community to issue a call for the men's release.

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2 p.m.

The hometown mayor of an Israeli being held in Gaza says the family has suffered but shown restraint throughout the months-long ordeal.

Itamar Shimoni, the mayor of Ashkelon, said Thursday that the family of Avraham Mangisto is not a family that will go out demonstrating. He said the family of five brothers "has been hurting for several months now" and that "it's not easy." He said local authorities are supporting the family.

Authorities say Mangisto walked through a breach in the border fence between Israel and Gaza last September and is believed to be held by the militant group Hamas, which rules the territory. It's not clear why he crossed into Gaza.

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1:30 p.m.

A brother of an Israeli citizen held in the Gaza Strip is calling on the international community to exert pressure to lead to his release.

Ilan Mangisto said at a news conference Thursday that his brother Avraham Mangisto is not in the best of health. He called the situation "a difficult humanitarian matter."

Ilan Mangisto did not elaborate on the health issue, but Israeli Channel 2 TV cited the family as saying that Avraham Mangisto was depressed following the death of his brother.

Authorities say Avraham Mangisto walked through a breach in the border fence between Israel and Gaza last September and is believed to be held by the militant group Hamas, which rules the territory.

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12:30 p.m.

Israeli defense officials say an Arab-Israeli citizen being held in the Gaza Strip is a Bedouin man from Israel's Negev desert.

Officials refused to say how long he has been held in Gaza or how he got there. They also would not say which group had him in custody.

Bedouin make up a small group within Israel's Arab minority, numbering about 180,000.

Israeli authorities said Thursday that two of its citizens are being held in the Gaza Strip. The other is an Israeli Ethiopian man who crossed into the Palestinian territory last September and is believed held by the Hamas militant group which rules Gaza.