The family of Avera Mengistu, believed to be in the hands of Hamas for over a year, made a rare public statement on Saturday in the wake of a video showing a Gazan, apparently mentally ill, being immediately shot dead after crossing into Egyptian territory.
"It's outrageous and appalling that the terror organization that is keeping a mentally ill person captive instead of returning him home as expected, dares to cry out that 'this is a reprehensible act that goes against all humanitarian laws and conventions', and what's more, demands prosecuting those responsible. This is hypocrisy at its finest."
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The family recalled that the young man had crossed the border into Gaza, presumably because of existing psychological problems, fifteen months before – but they still had no reliable information on their loved one's fate.
"Instead of returning Avera to his family as is expected of any person or other governing body, Hamas is holding him active without agreeing to provide any information about his condition," said family members. "Holding Avera Mengistu inGaza also goes against humanitarian laws and conventions and those imprisoning Avera must also be prosecuted. We call on the international community to intervene and to enforce on Hamas the same minimal humanitarian standards that it demands of others. We are troubled by the tragic death of the Gazan and send our condolences to the family."
The death of the young Palestinian in Egypt on Thursday caused uproar when amateur video of the shooting began circulating online and in media outlets. The video showed the young man walking in the sea, naked, and then crossing through a wire fence into Egyptian territory before he is fired at several times while still in the water.
"The shocking images aired by media outlets showing the death of the mentally disturbed young man by the Egyptian military mere meters from the border at Rafah testifies to the level of cruelty of those who carried it out and show that this was a cold-blooded execution," said the Hamas interior ministry in Gaza.
"This is a reprehensible act that goes against all humanitarian laws and conventions," read the ministry's statement, which called for Egyptian authorities to open an investigation and prosecute military personnel who were involved in the incident. According to Hamas, the man's body was still in Egyptian custody.
Palestinians demanded answers on social media, with some users uploaded images of the man alongside an article from the Egyptian press reporting that the military had returned four Israeli soldiers who accidentally entered Egyptian territory near Taba Border Crossing.