According to Palestinian news service, Mann News, Gilad Shalit may be coming home soon. In a deal brokered by Egypt will release 200 of the most violent terrorists in Israel’s prisoners.
Maan: Israel agrees to release 200 Palestinian prisoners in exchange of ShalitMaan News Agency reported on Thursday that the Israeli government gave consent for releasing 200 Palestinian prisoners, within a swap deal with the Palestinians, in exchange of captured Israeli soldier Gil’ad Shalit, who has been held in Gaza since last June.
According to Maan sources, Israeli’s agreement to such a swap deal came during a meeting between Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak and Egyptian President Husni Mubarak on Wednesday in the Egyptian red sea town of Sharm Elsheikh.
The Egyptian mediation secured an Israeli approval of releasing 200 Palestinian prisoners, who Israel has considered the most ‘dangerous’ among many Palestinian factions’ ranks, Maan said.
In the meantime, Abu Mojahed, spokesperson of the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the groups that hold Shalit, denied any knowledge about such a reported deal, reaffirming his group’s earlier demands.
Abu Mojahed told Maan News Agency that his group has demanded release of 1.400 prisoners, including 400 long-imprisoned and that the Israelis have since then procrastinated their release.
Osama Almezaini, a Hamas leader in Gaza, who has been following up the case, was reported by Israeli media outlets as saying that some European parties have been mediating between Hamas and Tel-Aviv.
The Israeli media sources reported that Almezaini confirmed Israel’s agreement to all Hamas’s demands regarding a possible swap deal, including names of would-be freed prisoners.
Egyptian mediation efforts have failed over the past eight months to ensure an agreement on the case, due to Israeli refusal to release prisoners, Israel says ‘their hands are stained with blood’.
Currently, Israel holds more than 11.000 Palestinian prisoners, as Israeli army continues to arrest Palestinians from both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Hamas-linked Army of Islam groups, abducted Gil’ad Shalit during a cross-border attack in southern Gaza in June2006.
Israeli army then carried out a large-scale offensive on the Gaza Strip, killing about 500 Palestinian men, women and children and destroyed several infrastructures, in an attempt to free Shalit.