An Egyptian mediator was in Israel for talks on exchanging a captured Israeli soldier in Gaza Strip with Palestinian prisoners, an official close to the negotiations told AFP on Thursday. An assistant to Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman met the head of Israel's internal security chief Yuval Diskin on Tuesday evening, the source said.
Suleiman has been mediating negotiations between Hamas and Israel to exchange Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Ali Barakeh, a Hamas official based in Syria, confirmed that the Egyptian official held the meeting in Israel. "We hope that the Zionist party will response favourably to the resistance's demands," he was quoted as saying on Hamas' website.
A Palestinian official in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Ramallah told AFP that "important progress" had been made in the latest talks.