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Israeli solider marks two years in Hamas captivity
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09:07, June 26, 2008

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Resistance is the best way to press on Israel, especially when it comes to prisoners, captors of an Israeli solider in Gaza Strip said on Wednesday.

The statement was made as Gilad Shalit, the Israeli Corporal, marks two years in captivity. On this day two years ago, Hamas and two other groups kidnapped the solider in a cross-border raid and still holding him hostage in Gaza.

"The resistance achieved a typical development when registered the first operation of capturing an Israeli soldier in a military battle since the start of the Intifada, said Abu Mujahed, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC).

Meanwhile, Egypt is set to host talks between Hamas and Israel to settle the issue by exchanging Shalit for a number of Palestinian prisoners. The move comes after Egypt brokered a shaky ceasefire deal between Hamas and Israel.

According to Hamas sources, Egypt will invite representatives of Hamas and Israel to Cairo in one week to continue the negotiations.

Hamas stressed on Wednesday that it will not make concessions on the conditions that it outlined to release Shalit.

"We want the release of all prisoners who lost their youthfulness while in the jails," said Osama al-Muzini, a Hamas leader who is close to the issue. He was referring to the old prisoners.

"Whatever the pressures were and whatever the issue takes, we will not step back from our demands and we will not give up anything," al-Muzini added.

Egypt mediated in several rounds of talks between Hamas and Israel on the prisoner exchange but the discussions stopped in June 2007 when Hamas fought security forces of President Mahmoud Abbas and took over the Gaza Strip.

Israel imposed a complete blockade on Gaza Strip following Hamas takeover but started to ease the siege after the ceasefire took hold on Thursday. Israel insists the complete lifting of the blockade will occur when Shalit is released.


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