Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal will arrive in Cairo next weekend together with fellow officials to discuss a prisoner exchange deal, Hamas journal al-Risala reported Tuesday.
A Palestinian source told the paper that the delegation members will be briefed by the Egyptians on recent talks between Egypt and Israel regarding a prisoner exchange deal which will see Gilad Shalit released.
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Meanwhile, Prominent US Muslim figures, including two congressmen, have sent a letter to Mashaal calling him to release the captive IDF soldier.
"We write to you during this holy month of Ramadan as Muslim-American leaders and scholars across
the United States," the letter stated. "As Muslims around the world reflect upon their faith and strive for an elevated level of devotion during this blessed month, we urge you to act upon our higher calling to charity and compassion by releasing Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit."
Among the signatories are Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison, Indiana Representative Andre Carson, former Pakistani Ambassador Akbar Ahmed and Imam Abdullah Antepli of Duke University.
"We believe Hamas’ harsh treatment and five-year detention of Shalit is wrong," the letter said.
"On many occasions Hamas has stated its opposition to unjust imprisonment. It has said that Israel’s detention of thousands of Palestinians, including women and children who have been held for months or years, sometimes in harsh conditions or without access to genuine due process, is unjust. "
'Higher moral code'
However, the authors of the letter stressed that "As Muslims we are guided by the tradition of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He teaches us to follow a higher ethical and moral code, and to set an example of justice and mercy, even against enemies and prisoners of war."
"The struggle for Palestinian human rights and self-determination must be based on this ethical and moral code.
"Hamas’ inhumane detention of Shalit undermines the Palestinian people’s legitimate aspirations for human rights and a state of their own, existing in peace and security beside Israel."
The authors of letter conclude by urging Mashaal "to recall that the Holy Koran teaches us that 'Whoever pardons and makes reconciliation will receive his reward from Allah.' We urge you to act upon these words by releasing Shalit immediately."
Elior Levy contributed to the report.