Talks on finalizing Hamas-Israel prisoners swap renew

08:39, October 18, 2010      

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by Emad Drimly, Saud Abu Ramadan

Gerhard Konrad, the German mediator to finalize a prisoners' swap deal between Israel and Islamic Hamas movement renewed his contacts with the two sides, well- informed identical Israeli and Palestinian sources revealed Sunday.

Both sources confirmed that three weeks ago Konrad visited both the Gaza Strip, ruled by Hamas since June 2007, and Israel to finalize a prisoners swap deal over freeing captive Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit in Gaza since June 2006 for releasing 1,000 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

Hamas movement and two other minor militant groups in Gaza abducted Shalit in a cross-border triple attack in southeast Gaza Strip on June 25, 2006. Shalit's captors are demanding the release of 1,450 prisoners from Israeli jails for the release of Shalit.

However, differences between Hamas and Israel over some prisoners that Israel considers very dangerous blocked the talks. Since the talks stopped in December 2009, no progress has been achieved so far.

Israeli Television, channel II reported earlier Sunday that the German mediator managed to bridge some gaps and that Hamas movement expressed readiness to resume the talks and reach an agreement.

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