Shalit. Treated for bullet injuries
Photo: Noam Rotem
Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak. Mediator
The Egyptian security delegation in the Gaza Strip met with kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit at the place where he is kept hostage, the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat reported Monday. According to the paper, the visit was carried out in the framework of mediation efforts aimed at bringing to Shalit's release. Al-Hayat also confirmed earlier reports that a Palestinian physician met with the soldier and treated him after he had sustained three bullet wounds during his kidnapping.
Al-Hayat quoted Cairo officials as stating that Egypt set an ultimatum to head of Hamas' politburo, Khaled Mashaal, demanding that he respond to Egypt's offers regarding Shalit's release. Egypt threatened to end its mediation efforts if its offer is not met. Meanwhile, Damascus has already announced it will not exert pressure on Mashaal on the issue of the kidnapping.
In its report, al-Hayat stressed that while Israel was not willing to change its stance and agree to a prisoner exchange deal, it may be willing to free Palestinians jailed in Israel several months after the soldier's release, without committing to a specific number of prisoners.
Shalit's captors demand the release of all underage and female prisoners, as well as an additional 1,000 prisoners, including Palestinian officials.
The newspaper also noted that a Fatah official said Egypt offered that Shalit be freed in exchange for an Israeli and Egyptian commitment to release all female and underage prisoners by the end of 2006. However, the Palestinians have little confidence in the Arab countries' ability to vouch for the implementation of this promise. Al-Hayat further reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas himself doubted that the plans to liberate the prisoners will be carried out.