Hamas remains silent on reports about captive Israeli soldier

13:44, May 11, 2011      

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Hamas on Tuesday declined to comment on reports that Egypt resumed efforts to broker a prisoner exchange deal between the Islamic movement and Israel.

"We will remain silent on the issue of prisoners swap," said Salah al-Bardaweel, a Hamas official in the Gaza Strip.

Other officials also refused to either confirm or deny the reports. However, sources in the movement said that the silence indicates possible resumption of indirect talks to exchange the prisoners.

In 2006, Hamas captured an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid near Gaza. Egypt and Germany mediated between the two sides, but wide gaps between Israel and Hamas blocked the achievement of the swap.

Meanwhile, the sources said that Hamas is hopeful that the new Egyptian leadership would revive the discussions on the issue of Gilad Shalit, the captive corporal, especially after Egypt brokered a reconciliation agreement between rival Palestinian groups last week.

If Israel released the more than 1,000 prisoners as Hamas demands, the popularity of the Islamic movement will increase, especially as the agreement envisions national elections in the Palestinian territory within a year, the sources say.

Source: Xinhua
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