Israel, Hamas jump closer to prisoners swap

13:51, October 01, 2009      

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Israel is expected to get a one-minute video tape of its soldier Gilad Shalit at his Gaza captivity before freeing 20 Palestinian female prisoners, a spokesman for militants in Gaza said Wednesday.

Abu Mujahed, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), one of Shalit's captors, expected that the videotape would be delivered to Israel by Friday.

The PRC joined Hamas movement and the Army of Islam in a cross-border raid near the Gaza Strip and captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006. Hamas represents the factions in the indirect talks with Israel to exchange prisoners.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian security official, whose country leads the mediation efforts between Hamas and Israel, confirmed to Xinhua the reports about Shalit issue's progress.

The source said this progress was made as a result of Egyptian and German mediation.

"A single proof would pave the way for a complete prisoner exchange and will support all parties' aspiration to continue their efforts to end this problem," the source said.

Spokesman for Hamas' military wing Abu Obaida said the mutual gestures between his movement and Israel "are a prelude to a prisoner exchange deal."

He added that the women who would be released include five prisoners of members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, four from Hamas, three from the Islamic Jihad, one from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and seven independent women.

He told a press conference in Gaza that only a mother and her little child are from the Gaza Strip and the others live in the West Bank.

Israel holds more than 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in its jails, including 52 females, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Club, a think-tank center for prisoners' studies.

Egypt has been mediating in the issue since the cross-border raid in which Shalit was captured near the Gaza Strip. Hamas wants Israel to free more than 1,000 Palestinian and Arab prisoners for Shalit, including all women, old and youngster prisoners.

Hamas' insistence on its demands and the Israeli inflexibility extended the Egyptian-mediated negotiations with frequent freeze. Recently, Germany joined Egypt for mediation between Hamas and Israel.

Source:Xinhua
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