Israel, Hamas restart negotiations on prisoner swap deal

13:21, October 19, 2010      

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by Adam Gonn

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has confirmed that the government has resumed efforts in advancing a prisoner swap deal with Hamas movement, which may lead to the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shailt.

Shailt was taken hostage by Hamas and two other Palestinian groups in a cross border raid on June 25, 2006.

Netanyahu's comments came after deputy head of the Hamas political bureau in Damascus Mousa Abu Marzook told the London- based Arabic language newspapers Al-Hayat that talks for a deal had resumed.

The negotiations are being conducted through the mediation of Gerhard Conrad, a senior officer with the Germany's Federal Intelligence Service known by its German acronym BND.

Conrad is a veteran of negotiations between Israel and its enemies and he was involved in the talks for the return of Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, whose abduction by Hezbollah in 2006 triggered the second Lebanon war.

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