A “reliable” Egyptian source said Thursday that the mediators negotiating for Shalit’s release were trying to minimize the number by 50 prisoners, according to a report by the London based Al-Hayat newspaper.
“Hamas wants 600 Palestinian prisoners released, but Israel refuses,” the source said, “attempts are being made by Egypt to lower that number to 550 prisoners.”
It is possible the number refers to a group of prisoners who will be released in one of the deal's first stages; Hamas’ preliminary list demanded the release of 1,400 prisoners.
According to different reports, the deal will included several stages, with the first being Shalit’s transfer to Egyptian forces in exchange for the release of a group of Palestinian prisoners.
The source added that Israel was still debating the names included among the prisoners on Hamas’ list. He also said that he felt a “positive indication that can be counted on” with regards to the direction in which negotiations were headed.
The source expressed hope that the names of Hamas leaders would be included among the second group of prisoners to be release. “Nothing is final yet. The deal is still in its first stages,” he said.