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Report: Hamas accepts Egypt plan on Israel prisoner swap (UPDATE)

Arab World Materials 9 May 2011 02:28
Hamas has reportedly accepted a plan drawn up by Egypt for a prisoners' swap that would secure the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, broadcaster Al Jazeera quoted Palestinian sources as saying Sunday, dpa reported.
Report: Hamas accepts Egypt plan on Israel prisoner swap (UPDATE)

Adds Israel president, prime minister reax (first version posted at 21:24)

Hamas has reportedly accepted a plan drawn up by Egypt for a prisoners' swap that would secure the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, broadcaster Al Jazeera quoted Palestinian sources as saying Sunday, dpa reported.

The draft envisions both sides restarting negotiations in Cairo through a negotiator in the coming days.

The discussions would be based on previous talks to release Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, the report said.

Sources said the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip was waiting for an answer from the Israeli government.

Shalit was snatched on June 25, 2006 during a cross-border raid launched from the Gaza Strip by three Palestinian militant groups. He has been held by Hamas, largely incommunicado, at an unknown location, believed to be in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, one of the militias that took part in the raid, is demanding the release of about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails in return for Shalit.

"We will not rest and will not be silent until all our kidnapped and missing soldiers return home. We will not rest and will not be silent until we see Gilad Shalit here healthy and whole," Israeli President Shimon Peres said Sunday.

Israel works "every day" for the return of missing and captive soldiers and "we will not stop pushing until they are returned," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu and Peres made their comments during Memorial Day ceremonies to mourn the 22,867 Israelis who have died since 1860, when the first Jews left the Old City in Jerusalem.

Sirens sounded all across Israel and a minute of silence was held. A special ceremony in memory of the fallen soldiers takes place in the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

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