Egyptian President Mubarak
$50 million impeded deal?
Photo: Mati Elmalich
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told US general David Petraeus in June 2009 that Syria and Qatar sabotaged the Shalit prisoner swap deal, Norwegian media reported Wednesday.
According to the report, which is based on a WikiLeaks document, Mubarak claimed that Syria and Qatar offered Hamas $50 million to keep soldier Gilad Shalit in captivity in order to impede a prisoner swap deal with Israel brokered by Egypt.
The US general quoted Mubarak in a cable sent to Washington. The document does not specify whether Hamas accepted the offer and does not contain details regarding the proposed payment method.
Mubarak apparently made the comments three months before Israel received a video tape showing Gilad Shalit in what then appeared as a breakthrough in efforts to release him.
According to the Norwegian report, which was quoted in Al Jazeera and Palestinian media, WikiLeaks papers provide additional details regarding Egypt's involvement in the deal. Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, the former intelligence minister, had a major role in efforts to free the kidnapped soldier.
The papers also suggest that in talks with Israeli and US officials, Mubarak and Suleiman blamed Syria and Qatar for providing Hamas with financial support. Mubarak said that Qatar had an important role in Hamas's takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
In the same meetings, Mubarak also admitted that Egypt had set up a separation fence in the Gaza border to stop weapons smuggling.
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