Gilad Shalit
Photo: AFP
Noam Shalit
Photo: AFP

Report: Shalit deal to be executed Friday

Hamas sources tell Saudi network al-Arabiya prisoner exchange with Israel to take place on first day of Eid al-Adha holiday; 450 Palestinians prisoners to be released to Gaza, West Bank in return for kidnapped soldier's transfer to Egypt

A prisoner exchange deal securing the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit will be executed this Friday, Saudi network al-Arabiya reported Sunday, quoting sources in the Hamas organization.


According to the report, 450 Palestinian prisoners will be released to the Gaza Strip and West Bank in exchange for Shalit's transfer to Egypt. Shalit was kidnapped into Gaza 1,246 days ago.


The al-Arabiya report added that the Hamas leadership from Damascus would meet with the Hamas leadership from Gaza in Cairo on Monday, to discuss the latest offer submitted by Israel.


Sources in Gaza told Ynet that significant progress had been made over the past few days in the talks for the prisoner exchange deal, and that the last obstacles – related to a number of prisoners from the leadership of Hamas' military wing – could be removed by Friday, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.


The sources added that should their estimates be realized, an announcement on the deal would be expected even sooner.


The prisoners slated to be freed are defined as "heavy prisoners with blood on their hands", and therefore it is possible that even after the government approves the deal, petitions against the deal would be filed with the High Court of Justice.


Noam Shalit: No new info received

Gilad Shalit's father, Noam, told Ynet on Sunday evening that he was unaware of the source or reliability of the reports that his son would be released in the coming days. "I have no new information," he clarified.


Shalit was expected to meet Monday with Hagai Hadas, the prime minister's representative to the talks for a prisoner exchange deal. He told Ynet that the appointment was scheduled in advance as part of his regular meetings with Hadas.

The campaign for Shalit's release clarified in a statement that "the family has not received any verification so far for the information reported by Arab media." The campaign's chairman, Shimshon Liebman, clarified that no unplanned meetings have been scheduled for Noam Shalit with the officials in charge of the negotiations on behalf of Israel.


Meanwhile, 10 reserve soldiers met Sunday evening with Defense Minister Ehud Barak at his Tel Aviv office, where they presented him with a petition signed by 3,000 people and stressed his personal responsibility and the need for him to lead the efforts for the kidnapped soldier's release.


The group wrote in its petition, "We will not allow new rules and new red lines at the expense of a living soldier in captivity! The time dimension is critical for Gilad, his is in a difficult mental condition and must be returned immediately and with no further delays."


They stressed that as reservists, they view the defense minister as the person responsible for Shalit's life and for returning him alive and well.


American Arabic-language news network Alhurra reported last Wednesday that a deal for the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was in the "last agreement" stages. According to the report, which cited "credible sources", Shalit would be released on Friday in exchange for "hundreds of prisoners".


On Thursday, Fox News reported that Hamas had handed over to Israel a new prisoner list as part of the efforts to complete the swap deal, adding that such a deal was nearing completion. A source involved in the swap talks told Fox News that Israel informed the German mediator that the 70 prisoners in dispute will not be released under any circumstances, even if it means Shalit will remain in captivity.


Ahiya Raved contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 11.22.09, 18:52
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