'His injury has not healed'. Gilad Shalit
A Hamas official who has been in touch with the captors of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit said Tuesday that the young corporal was wounded in the raid in which he was snatched a year ago, and is being held in unsanitary conditions.
The official, Osama al-Muzaini, spoke a day after Hamas militants released a recorded message from Shalit saying that his health is failing and he needs hospital treatment.
It was the first sign of life from the 20-year-old soldier since he was abducted by Palestinian raiders from an army post inside Israel and taken to a Gaza hideout.
Sign of Life
One year after his abduction, Hamas releases audio message by kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on which he says his health is deteriorating and he is in need of medical attention
Al-Muzaini, a Hamas official who was the group's liaison with Shalit's captors until contacts broke down in March, said in an interview with a Gaza radio station that the captive's living conditions are "not as healthy as needed for an injured person."
"Shalit needs more medical care which was not available, regrettably, because of the security situation," he said. "His injury has not healed."
Al-Muzaini did not say if he had seen Shalit firsthand. In the audio message posted Monday on the Hamas military wing's website, Shalit sent greetings to his family and army comrades and said he was disappointed by the Israeli government's failure to secure his release.
'Lack of interest'
"I have spent a full year in prison, and my health is still deteriorating, and I need prolonged hospitalization," he said.
"I regret the lack of interest on the part of the Israeli government and the Israel Defense Forces in my case and their refusal to meet the demands of the al-Qassam brigades," he added.
Shalit was captured on June 25, 2006, by gunmen from Hamas and two allied groups who tunneled into Israel from the Gaza Strip.
Negotiations for his release, mediated by Egypt, have repeatedly broken down, growing more complicated since Hamas took control of Gaza two weeks ago.
Al-Muzaini said his contacts with Shalit's captors ended three months ago, after the last round of negotiations.
The militants have demanded that Israel release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for freeing Shalit.
Israel has agreed to a swap in principle, but balked at some of the Palestinian demands for the number and type of prisoners to be freed.
Al-Muzaini said Tuesday the abductors wanted the release of all women and minors and 1,000 other Arab prisoners, among them Palestinian militant leaders.