Photo: Noam Rotem
Gilad Shalit. In Egypt?
Photo: Noam Rotem
Photo: Amir Cohen
Shalit's father, Noam
Photo: Amir Cohen

Shalit's father denies report soldier is being held in Egypt

London-based Arabic-language newspaper reports kidnapped soldier has been recently transferred from Gaza to Egypt ahead of anticipated prisoner exchange. Shalit's father, Noam: According to our sources report is false

Kidnapped soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit, was transferred to Egypt and has been held in the country for quite some time, ahead of an anticipated prisoner exchange deal between his captors and Israel, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported Tuesday, quoting "a Palestinian source relying on credible Arab sources."


According to the same source, Hamas has recently agreed to relinquish the principle that the two parts of the agreement – Shalit's release and the freeing of the Palestinian prisoners - be held simultaneously, and consented to hand the captive over to Egyptian hands in exchange for Israeli guarantees regarding the swap.


However, Noam Shalit, Shalit's father, told Ynet that according to the information obtained by the family from its own sources, the report was false.


"Through the officials we are in contact with, this information is untrue." he said:


He stated that the family hasn’t received any information regarding any sort of agreement being consolidated. On the contrary, according to recent reports in their hands, certain publications are unfounded.


Senior Palestinian officials told Ynet that the mutual release and the regain of calm between the sides might take time. The blessing for sealing the deal is yet too soon.


However, they did not confirm that Captive soldier Gilad Shalit was already in Egypt but estimated that the completion of intensive negotiations is possible within days.


Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh as well as President Mahmoud Abbas, confirmed this week that the deal is underway and expressed hope for it to be completed soon.


On Thursday, Haniyeh is set to hold a speech, defined by the Palestinian Authority as "Historic," in which he may elaborate on the details of the deal.


No release of prisoners with 'blood on hands' 

Officials said that according to the current Egyptian mediation proposal, Israel will commit to the release of 800 Palestinian prisoners in three stages: 300 will be freed upon Shalit's transfer to Egypt, another 300 will be released when the Israeli soldier is handed over to Israel, and the remaining 200 will be freed by the end of 2006.


According to al-Hayat, Israel has accepted the deal, albeit with several conditions: The state will not release prisoners "with blood on their hands," and will not free Fatah's head in the West Bank Marwan Barghouti or the secretary-general of the Popular Front, Ahmed Saadat.


The report stated that the Palestinians have also agreed to the proposed deal, despite their insistence on the release of all women prisoners, and all prisoners that have been jailed in Israel for over 20 years, a demand Israel has repeatedly rejected.


According to reports, Cairo has involved Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the matter in order to pressure Washington to exert pressure on Israel to accept the overall details of the deal.


With the release of Gilad Shalit, the calm is due to return. A temporary calm from both the Palestinian organizations as well as from Israel's side is expected.


This means for the IDF to cease assassinations, arrests and attacks in Gaza as well as the opening of border crossings and stopping the economic siege placed on the Strip.


Israel has so far failed to confirm the report of Shalit's transfer to Egypt.


Al-Hayat also reported that the commander of Hamas' military wing, Muhammad Deif, has also been transferred to Egypt, in order to receive medical treatment for injuries sustained during an Israel Defense Forces air raid about a month ago.


Ali Waked, Ahiya Raved and Ronny Sofer contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 09.05.06, 07:41
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