Captive soldier Gilad Shalit

Hamas prisoner: Progress made in Shalit talks

Senior Hamas inmate says headway involves next stages of deal, names of prisoners to be swapped

A Hamas prisoner claimed Tuesday that progress has been made in negotiations for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit over the past few days.


In an interview with Ynet the prisoner, who is considered close to the talks and kept updated on their progress, said the advancement also has to do with the next stages of the deal as well as the names of prisoners to be included in it.


He declined to mention further details, but said the deal was being conducted through a German mediator.


Hamas declined to comment officially on the prisoner's interview, but a senior member of the organization told Ynet that a lot of work was being done behind the scenes.


Israel and Hamas are still divided on the deal, and especially on the identities of Palestinian prisoners to be swapped for Shalit.


Since the release of a video showing the captive soldier alive and looking relatively healthy, no official progress has been made in the deal for his release. Reports in the Arab media have also dwindled.


Earlier this month, the Palestinian daily al-Manar reported that a swap for the release of Gilad Shalit had been finalized and awaited Israel's approval.


According to the report, all details of the deal had been worked out and the parties were waiting for the Netanyahu government to endorse the agreement.


Following the report senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said in an interview with the Israeli-Arab news site Al-Arab that "if Israel is interested in a swap deal to put an end to this affair, we are ready from now".


A week ago Aviva Shalit, Gilad's mother, called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "end this sad affair" with expediency. At a Netanya ceremony held by activists she said that "two hours away a soldier sits in Hamas captivity, whom all of Israel saw for the first time one month ago".


פרסום ראשון: 11.17.09, 19:39
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