Palestinian president confirms prisoner exchange deal with Israel reached
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said in remarks published on Tuesday that a prisoner exchange deal has been reached with Israel. In an interview with the Bahrain-based Akhbar Al Haleej newspaper, to be published on Wednesday, Abbas said that the prisoner exchange deal was based on an arrangement under which Ehypt would accept captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit as a "deposit," after which the number of Palestinians to be released in return for his freedom would be made public.
Meanwhile, the London-based Al Hayat daily reported Tuesday that Shalit may have been taken from the Gaza Strip to Egypt. The report, based on unnamed Arab sources, said that Shalit has been held in Cairo for some time, awaiting the results of negotiations for his release. Israel is expected to free at least 800 Palestinian captives for the soldier.
Al Hayat added that Hamas military wing chief Mohammed Deif is also in Cairo, under treatment for wounds suffered in an Israeli assassination attempt.