Hamas' Khaled Mashaal
Photo: AP
Mashaal: Deal first step in all prisoners' freedom
In meeting with Palestinians in Yemen, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal says, 'Movement working to ensure release of prisoners from all factions'. Hamas official Khalil al-Haya says Shalit talks ongoing

Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal said, "The Shalit deal will not see light without Israel's compliance with Hamas' demands."


In a meeting with Palestinians in Yemen on Friday, Mashaal said, "The movement is working to ensure the release of prisoners from all factions. This deal is the first step towards the release of all the Palestinians prisoners from Israeli prisons."


Hamas official Dr. Khalil al-Haya said negotiations over a prisoner exchange deal are ongoing. According to al-Haya, almost all media reports of the deal are based on rumors stemming from the "occupation", "which hopes to improve the talks through these rumors and gain achievements and pressure the Palestinians, and mainly the prisoners' families."


Al-Haya said that Hamas is standing its ground, and hinted that there are Palestinian bodies that do not wish to see the deal finalized, and are therefore spreading rumors of its failure.


He was referring to a recent meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, when Abbas said there was no deal between Israel and Hamas.


Earlier, Fatah head in the West Bank Marwan Barghouti said in an interview to CNN: "I am part of the list that Hamas is negotiating over, and I have high hopes and expectations to be released in this deal."


When asked how he feels about the impending deal in which some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners may be released in exchange for the one Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Barghouti said: "Israel is holding inside its prisons and detention facilities more than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, some of whom have spent more than 32 years of their life inside prisons. Also, Israel detains hundreds of prisoners without trial or charges or anything.


"Israel is an occupying country that uses oppression and aggression against the Palestinians for decades. It confiscates land, builds illegal settlements, kills and assassinates, and arrests close to 500 Palestinians on a monthly basis, establishes and erects military checkpoints, besieges the Gaza strip."


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