"Hamas is determined to free all the Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails, be it by kidnapping more soldiers or other methods," said Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal on Monday at a rally for Palestinian prisoners in a Damascus refugee camp.
Mashaal said that kidnapped Israeli soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit will not be released until Israel yields to Palestinian demands. "If the enemy insists on continuing to refuse to free our prisoners, I am saying here that we have every capability to do again what we have done before," said Mashaal.
The exiled Hamas leader condemned the international silence in the face of "Israel's policy of terror, killing, arrests and siege against the Palestinian people.
"While the leaders of the world already know the name Gilad Shalit by heart, the name of Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Dr. Aziz Dwaik is of no interest to anyone."
Mashaal reiterated that Hamas' list of demands, including the names of the prisoners they want released, has already been handed over to Israel. "The Israelis initially accepted the list," he said, "but then later they started playing games with various excuses. The enemy is trying to manipulate and use extortion tactics, but I emphasize: Shalit will only be released if our demands are met and only in exchange for the price we have stipulated. We will not give in to their extortions."
Abbas in surprise Saudi visit
Meanwhile on Sunday Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah held an unannounced meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss recent developments in the region.
The meeting in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, came a day after Abbas met with Mashaal in Cairo. Their talks were the first since their blocs formed a coalition government in March under Saudi Arabian mediation.
A Palestinian official said that during Sunday's meeting Abbas briefed Abdullah on the deteriorating security situation in the Gaza Strip and the two discussed ''how to re-establish security (in Gaza) and
reactivate the cease-fire."
Within the Palestinian Authority officials said that following Abbas' visit to Riyadh it is expected that the king will either extend a similar invitation to Mashaal or dispatch Saudi envoys to meet with him in Syria.