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Herzog, German president discuss Israelis held by Hamas amid ceasefire talks

President Isaac Herzog (L) meets with his German counterpart in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on October 6, 2021, ahead of the memorial ceremony to mark the Babi Yar massacre. (Haim Zach/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog (L) meets with his German counterpart in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on October 6, 2021, ahead of the memorial ceremony to mark the Babi Yar massacre. (Haim Zach/GPO)

President Isaac Herzog meets with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Ukraine ahead of the memorial ceremony this evening marking 80 years since the Babi Yar massacre, when tens of thousands of people, mostly Jews, were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.

Both are due to speak at the ceremony and a statement from Herzog’s office says the two noted the “powerful symbolism” of them meeting today.

Herzog and Steinmeier also “talked at length about the matter of the State of Israel’s captured and missing [citizens] in the Gaza Strip and other places,” according to the statement.

Germany has previously been linked to efforts to broker a prisoner swap between Israel and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, which is holding a pair of Israeli citizens who entered the Strip and the bodies of two soldiers killed in the 2014 war. The statement says Herzog acknowledged this while meeting with Steinmeier.

Israel and Hamas have been holding indirect talks to firm up a shaky ceasefire since 11 days of fighting between the sides in May. Israel has vowed not to allow a full reconstruction of Gaza without a prisoner swap.

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