Fri, 12 Aug 2022

JERUSALEM, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Israel on Tuesday called for international help in releasing an Israeli citizen held by the Hamas in the Gaza Strip, following Hamas' release of a video of the Israeli captive lying in a hospital bed while wearing an oxygen mask.

The man, identified as 34-year-old Hisham al-Sayed, has been held incommunicado since he wandered across the security fence into the Palestinian enclave in 2015. The video was released a day after Hamas announced the deterioration of his medical condition.

"The State of Israel holds Hamas accountable for the health of the captured civilians," Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's office said in a statement, referring to al-Sayed and Avera Mengistu, another Israeli civilian who is also believed to be held in Gaza after crossing into the Palestinian enclave in 2014.

Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement that Hamas is holding al-Sayed in violation of international law.

"I call on the international community, including the World Health Organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the organizations dealing with people with mental conditions, to condemn Hamas for its inhuman behavior and demand it act in accordance with international law and release the civilians," Lapid said.

Israel and Hamas, which are sworn enemies that have fought several rounds of war, have been engaged in the Egyptian-brokered talks for a swap deal, which have so far made little progress.

Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007 when Hamas took over control of the enclave. Israel maintains that it will not lift the blockade until the Israeli prisoners are freed and the Gaza Strip is demilitarized.

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