The al-Qassam Brigades is currently holding two living Israelis — Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed — as well as the bodies of two Israeli soldiers: Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Both Mengistu and al-Sayed are believed to have mental illnesses and were snatched by the militants during walks. They were kidnapped between 2014 and 2015 and are a significant point of contention in Israeli politics and the nation’s relationship with the terrorist organization.
However, for the first time in more than two year, al-Qassam released this video, claiming the health situation of Hsiahm al-Sayed has severely deteriorated:
The Israeli government immediately contacted the Egyptian government to contact the group and get clarification for the video. No demands were published with the video. al-Qassam spokesperson Abu Hazma told followers on telegram that his health was deteriorating, most likely in an attempt to increase bargaining power with the Israeli government for a prisoner exchange, much like when Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was traded for 1,027 Palestinian security prisoners.
Israeli Prime Minister Bennet told press that Israel will continue its efforts to return all captives and missing individuals through the government of Egypt.
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades named after Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, is the military wing of the Palestinian organization Hamas. Currently led by Mohammed Deif and its deputy, Marwan Issa, IQB is the largest and best-equipped group operating within Gaza today.