Hamas: Israel's prisoner exchange offer still under discussions

10:22, December 30, 2009      

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Islamic Hamas movement on Tuesday denied reports that it had rejected an Israeli offer to exchange prisoners.

"Hamas has not yet taken a final decision in this regard and its leaders are still studying the Israeli response that the German mediator has conveyed," Hamas said in a statement.

It has been reported Tuesday afternoon that Hamas leaders, who are meeting in Damascus, had rejected the Israeli offer to free a number of Palestinian and Arab prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier Hamas has been holding in Gaza since 2006.

"Hamas will hand over its response to the German mediator after completing the internal discussions in accordance with the interest of the heroic prisoners and in a way securing their release in an honorable swap," the statement added.

Israel insists to deport some of the prisoners outside the Palestinian territories while Hamas works to reduce the number.

The German mediator is scheduled to return to the region in January to receive Hamas' answer.

Source: Xinhua
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