Barghouti's brother: He'll be released in Shalit deal
Ynet learns family of former Tanzim informed he will be included in prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel, along with PFLP leader Ahmed Saadat. Deputy speaker of Palestinian parliament: We'll celebrate Eid Feast of the Sacrifice with release of prisoners from Israeli jails
Marwan Barghouti's brother estimated that the former Tanzim leader will be included in a prisoner exchange deal that will see captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit returned to Israel, Ynet learned on Monday.
Mukabal Barghouti said his family had been notified that the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmed Saadat, will also be freed by Israel. Barghouti and Saadat will be sent to the West Bank upon their release, the brother said.
Ynet also learned that Barghouti's wife Fadwa visited Cairo last week. Sources close to the couple said the visit to Egypt, which has been mediating the negotiations between Israel and Hamas, focused on the possible prisoner swap.
Meanwhile, the deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament, Ahmed Bahar, told parents of Palestinians being held by Israel that the Palestinians will celebrate Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), which starts on Friday, with the release of prisoners from Israeli jails.
He told the parents, who were rallying outside the Red Cross offices in Gaza, "We will celebrate Eid al-Adha and the prisoners' release."
Earlier Monday, officials in Gaza said Israel has softened its terms for a prisoner swap with Hamas and the two enemies are nearing a deal to exchange hundreds of Palestinian inmates for Shalit, who is being held in the Strip.
Parents of Palestinian prisoners at Red Cross offices in Gaza (Photo: AP)
A delegation from Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, crossed into Egypt for a planned meeting with Egyptian security officials in Cairo to discuss the deal that Egypt and Germany have been mediating.
Officials close to the talks said Israel had agreed to include in the exchange for Shalit, some 160 prisoners whose release it had previously vetoed.
Shalit was captured by Palestinian terrorists who tunneled into Israel from the Gaza Strip in 2006. Israel has linked any major easing of its blockade on the territory to the soldier's return home.
"The Shalit episode is about to be closed," one of the officials said.
Sources on both sides told Reuters there were hopes that a deal might be struck by the end of the week, when the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha begins.
However, the Prime Minister's Office announced on Monday that some of the recent reports regarding a prisoner exchange deal for Shalit's release "are not credible and some of them are even intentionally distorted."
Reuters contributed to the report