A senior officer in the General Staff said on Thursday that Corporal Gilad Shalit is
alive and is being held by Hamas gunmen in a secret location in the Gaza Strip.
As time goes by, Shalit is becoming a burden on the Palestinians and their leadership he added.
Hamas politburo Khaled Mashaal "is in an awkward situation. On the one hand, he is under pressure from extreme elements in Syria and Iran, and on the other Abu Mazen (President Mahmoud Abbas) and the Palestinian government want Shalit released to end Israel's military pressure in the Gaza Strip."
He noted a sharp drop in Qassam rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, saying Palestinian groups are deterred by Israel's effective retaliatory operations against Qassam cells.
"There is still fire. The fire hasn't stopped completely, but we believe that our operation will eventually bring results," he said.
Since Shalit's kidnapping some 228 Palestinians were killed, 208 of them were terrorists, IDF data show.
About 451 gunmen were injured in IDF incursions into Gaza.
The officer added that security cooperation with Egypt is crucial to stemming the flow of weapons from Sinai into Gaza, but admitted that Egypt's efforts do not meet Israel's demands.
Between one to two tons of explosives are smuggled into Gaza every month, he said.
He said that after the war in Lebanon, Palestinian terror groups are seeking to smuggle sophisticated arms into Gaza.
"It is important to note that the Dahiyeh, is not only in Beirut," he said, referring to the Shiite stronghold in the south of the Lebanese capital.
He refuted as "misleading" Palestinian claims of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.