Hamas says demands in exchange for Shalit will grow
Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal said Monday in Damascus that as Israel delays securing a prisoner exchange deal, the demands of the group will grow, dpa reported.
Meshaal was speaking at a student conference in the Syrian capital, one day after thousands of Israelis set out on a solidarity march for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was kidnapped in a cross border raid in 2006.
"The Zionist government fails every time in the prisoners exchange deal ... as time passes we will no longer be satisfied with those demands. The demands will be higher, and so will the price," Meshaal said.
"Shalit will not be the only one and we shall continue capturing the enemy's soldiers and officers until our prisoners are released," Meshaal added.
Hamas has until now demanded the release of around 1,000 Palestinians jailed in Israel in return for Shalit. Negotiations to effect a prisoner swap, conducted first via Egyptian, and then via German, mediation, have so far come to naught.
Meshaal added that breaking the Israeli blockade, imposed on Gaza since 2006, is a priority for Hamas, and called on the different countries to send more flotillas.
Last month, Israel attacked a fleet of boats that was attempting to bring aid to the Gaza Strip. The attack left least nine activists, whom Israel said had been armed, dead.
Organizers had hoped the "Freedom Flotilla," carrying 700 activists and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid, would have been a successful attempt to break Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip.