Photo: Noam Rotem
Gilad Shalit
Photo: Noam Rotem
Report: Top Egyptian officials to visit Syria regarding Shalit deal
Lebanon's al-Akhbar newspaper says Cairo means to increase pressure on Palestinian groups in order to finalize prisoner exchange deal meant to bring Hamas captive home

A high-level Egyptian delegation is set to visit Damascus and the Gaza Strip within days in order to finalize the final details which would enable a prisoner exchange deal meant to secure the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, Lebanon's al-Akhbar newspaper reported Tuesday.


The newspaper quoted Egyptian sources as saying General Muhammad Ibrahim, who is a top aide to Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman, will head the mission and personally try to persuade the various Palestinian organizations to lift their objections to the deal.


Meanwhile, Cairo sources denied reports insinuating a deal is imminent, saying the Egyptian-brokered negotiations between Israel and Hamas "have yet to mature diplomatically… mutual concessions still have to be made."


Earlier, the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency reported that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) transferred Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Secretary-General Ahmed Saadat to another prison, ahead of a possible deal.


The IPS confirmed that Saadat, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his part in the 2001 assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi, was transferred from Ashkelon's Shikma Prison to the Ramon Prison, citing "internal IPS considerations."


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