Top political leader of the Hamas movement in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, has ruled out reports that the prisoner of war, Gilad Shalit, has been moved to Egypt as part of the efforts to reach a prisoner swap deal with Israel.
In an interview with Qatar-based al-Jazeera news network on Thursday, Hamdan said that the news reports about moving Shalit to Egypt are fake and meant to pressure Hamas amidst the ongoing indirect swap talks.
The Hamas leader added that the indirect talks are still ongoing through the German mediator, and that they are still focused on Hamas’ demand for the release of 1000 Palestinians being held captive in Israeli prisons.
Hamas prisoner deal with Israel now depends on the fate of 15 Palestinian detainees, especially Marwan Barghouthi of the Fatah movement, Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Ahmad Saadat, Amna Mona, and two other female detainees. The remaining ten prisoners are senior leaders of Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzedeen Al-Kasam Brigades.
Israel would likely release 980 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas more than three years ago, the Israeli ‘State Prosecution’ has said.
It also claimed the government would likely free the 450 prisoners that Hamas has asked for in exchange for Shalit, as well as an additional 530 prisoners, as a “gesture to the Palestinians.”
The decision was made, according to the Israeli media, by the High Court of Justice responding to a petition filed by Amagor Israeli group and three bereaved families against the prisoner swap deal.
The bereaved families wanted the court to reveal why the criteria for prisoner release was not made public and why there is military censorship on information that should be available to the public.
More than 11,500 Palestinians, including women and children, are currently imprisoned in Israeli detention facilities, suffering harsh and life-threatening conditions.