Rally calling for Shalit's release
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Hamas official: Shalit deal before truce possible

Senior Hamas official tells al-Hayat that if Israel accepts group's demands regarding prisoner exchange, deal on captive soldier can be reached before ceasefire

A senior Hamas official said Tuesday he did not rule out the possibility of signing a prisoner swap deal for the release of Israeli captive Gilad Shalit before a truce agreement between Hamas and Israel is reached.


The Israeli cabinet is scheduled to convene on Wednesday to discuss its stand regarding a ceasefire agreement that could involve Shalit's release.


The top official, who asked to remain anonymous, told the London-based al-Hayat that there was nothing to prevent Hamas from agreeing to free the Israeli soldier, "if the matter is dealt with and fully resolved before the truce.


"This on condition that all the names and numbers stipulated on our list (of prisoners) are accepted, as well as the means to carry out the deal," he added.


The source also confirmed that Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti has been included on Hamas' list, and that Israel did not object to his release. However, he added that there was controversy regarding the freeing of Ahmad Sadat, secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.


Sources involved in the negotiations told Ynet that in light of the change in Israel's stance – which now binds progress on the Shalit deal to any truce agreement – a ceasefire would likely not be reached in the coming days.


The sources claimed that no headway has been made on the Shalit matter, and that it's been two months since Hamas and Israel last exchanged prisoner lists.


Ali Waked contributed to the report 


פרסום ראשון: 02.17.09, 12:54
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