Netanyahu asks UN chief to help win release of Israelis from Hamas

JERUSALEM, June 28 (UPI) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday urged United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to help secure the release of Israeli civilians and bodies of Israeli soldiers held by Hamas.

Netanyahu met with Ban in Jerusalem, as well as the families of Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, Israeli soldiers who were killed in the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict. Hamas has not returned the bodies of the soldiers, according to Israeli officials.

Ki-moon also met with the family of Avraham Abera Mengistu, an Israeli man who disappeared in the Gaza Strip in 2014 and is believed to be a Hamas hostage. A fourth unidentified Israeli man is also believed to be held in Gaza.

“I want to thank you, Mr. Secretary, for agreeing to meet with the Goldin, Shaul and Mengistu families,” Netanyahu said at a joint press conference, adding that Hamas is a terrorist organization with “genocidal aims” that is “cruelly and illegally holding the remains of our soldiers and holding our citizens. I ask you to use your standing to help return home these soldiers and these citizens.”

Ban, whose term will end in December 2016, said he would keep working for “peace and justice and dignity” for Israelis and Palestinians.

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