Kidnapped soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit spent most of his time in captivity imprisoned on the campus of the Islamic University in Gaza, said senior Palestinian sources on Monday.
Shalit was kidnapped on June 25th 2006 and up until three months ago had been held at the university – a prominent Hamas stronghold – but arguments amongst his captors led to his relocation.
The Islamic University is under complete Hamas control, with faculty members and students alike all loyal to the organization.
Within its walls there are not only regular academic studies but also military training and religious preaching.
Palestinian officials have labeled the university a "sanctuary for wanted men" and they note that Hamas mastermind Yahya Ayyash fled from the West Bank to Gaza in 1995 and hid in the Islamic University for several months during the time he was being pursued by Israeli forces for his role in numerous suicide bombings in the 90's.
Ayyash and other wanted Hamas members took advantage of the fact that none but Hamas loyalists set foot in the university.
That changed last Thursday when troops from Fatah's Force 17 raided the university campus, confiscating some 2,000 AK-47 assault rifles, hundreds of RPG launchers and massive amounts of ammunition.
Fatah troops also uncovered a tunnel opening leading all the way to the Palestinian Police headquarters in Gaza City. Estimates suggest Hamas had intended to fill the tunnel with explosives and destroy the police building.
Palestinian sources say that during the raid forces also tried to find any clues which may lead them to the location of Shalit.
"I hope the Israeli government and prime minister understand that Gaza is not a health resort, and that the situation is explosive," said Noam Shalit, Gilad's father, on Monday at his home in Mitzpe Hila.
working against us and our hearts worry for him. Unfortunately everything is just words, with no results," he said.
Noam and his wife Aviva attended a tree planting ceremony at a Maalot kindergarten on Monday in honor of the holiday of Tu B'ishvat.
The children presented the couple with letters and drawings; in one a child drew a lone soldier holding an Israeli flag with helicopters above him, another wrote –'I hope he will run away.'