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Hamas: Abbas not fit for prisoner swap

28 April 2010 17:00

Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal says the acting Palestinian Authority (PA) chief lacks credibility to be involved in a prisoner exchange deal between Palestinians and Israelis.

One day after Mahmoud Abbas expressed willingness to conclude a prisoner swap deal with Israeli officials, Meshal told the Saudi al-Watan newspaper that the acting PA chief was not qualified to resolve the sensitive issue.

In his Wednesday interview, Meshal blamed Israeli leaders for Gilad Shalit’s continued imprisonment, saying that officials in Tel Aviv were responsible for failing to reach an agreement with Palestinians on the matter to date.

The Hamas leader said nearly 8,000 Palestinian prisoners were currently held in Israeli jails, warning that more Israeli soldiers will be arrested for future exchange with detained Palestinians.

“Israelis have left us with no option but to seize more troops,” Meshal said.

“Gilad Shalit has not been and will never be the last Israeli soldier captured to be used as a bargaining chip for the release of Palestinian prisoners,” he added.

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