Rockets fired from Gaza; Hamas: Prisoner exchange not part of truce deal
Three rockets fired from the Gaza Strip struck Israel on Friday, causing no damage or casualties, an Israeli military spokesman said. The shootings came as a longer-term, Egyptian-mediated ceasefire was expected in the next few days.
According to Reuters, senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouq said the truce, which would last 18 months and would ensure the opening of all commercial crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip. He conveyed there would be measures "next March that would make it easier for our Palestinian people to move through the crossing".
The senior leader said the agreement was not linked to any possible prisoner exchange deal with the Jewish state that would see the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured in June 2006. "This is a separate issue that has no relation with the truce," Abu Marzouq stressed. "Gilad Shalit will be (released) in exchange for Palestinian captives." A source said linking a deal to exchange prisoners would have "complicated" the talks.
Hamas has demanded Israel free 1,400 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit.