Hamas: Netanyahu responsible for keeping Israeli soldier in captivity
Islamic Hamas movement on Friday held Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responsible for keeping Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit in Gaza captivity since June 24, 2006, Xinhua reported.
Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a press statement to reporters that Netanyahu "is responsible for not reaching an agreement on finalizing a prisoners' swap deal with Hamas."
Abu Zuhri's statement was a response to Netanyahu's earlier statement saying he would tighten measures against thousands of Palestinian prisoners imprisoned in Israeli jails.
"Tightening the measures against the prisoners proves that he ( Netanyahu) wants to cover his failure in finalizing the deal and also his security forces' failure to reach where Shalit is held."
Five years ago, militants belonging to three armed groups, Hamas armed wing al-Qassam Brigades, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Army of Islam, kidnapped Shalit in a cross- border armed attack on an Israeli army base southeast of the Gaza Strip.
The captors of Shalit demanded the release of prisoners under the age of 18 as well as women in addition to releasing 1,000 prisoners, many of whom were involved in deadly attacks into Israel.
"Netanyahu's statement is a clear violation of the international laws against the prisoners. The only solution to finalizing Shalit's case is to end the problem of Palestinian prisoners in the occupation's jails," said Abu Zuhri.
On Thursday, Hamas rejected the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)'s demand to prove that Shalit is alive. Hamas said the ICRC should also consider the life of 7,000 prisoners in Israeli jails.
Earlier this week, there were reports saying that Egypt, France and Germany were mediating between Hamas and Israel to finalize the deal of releasing Shalit for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.