Hamas insists on release of 450 prisoners in exchange for captive Israeli soldier
The head of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip on Sunday reiterated its demand for Israel to free 450 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. "Those who kidnapped Shalit maintain their demands on the number and identities of the Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit," Ismail Haniya said in a televised speech.
"We are more concerned about closing this case than the occupier, and it could be done very quickly if the occupier agrees to the demands of the Palestinian people," Haniya said, according to AFP. Last week, the Israeli government demanded progress in freeing the soldier as one of the conditions for a truce and on Sunday an official said that it could be a deal breaker. "Gilad Shalit has become a deal breaker," an Israeli official told AFP.
"If he returns home it would be much easier to reach a truce. But without Shalit I cannot see Israel adopting a truce agreement."
Haniya also confirmed that a Hamas delegation from Gaza and another "from the exterior", would go to Cairo for talks with Egyptian mediators about a Gaza truce on Monday and Tuesday.