Israeli official holds talks in Egypt on prisoner swap

Israel Materials 27 June 2008 01:16 (UTC +04:00)

An Israeli official held talks in Egypt on Thursday on a proposed prisoner swap aimed at obtaining the release of an Israeli soldier kidnapped by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, the dpa reported.

Ofer Dekel, the Israeli charged with the negotiations, was to present Egyptian officials with a list Palestinian prisoners and a proposals on how and when they should be released.

The brief visit came two days after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the Red Sea rest of Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss the truce that came into force in the Gaza Strip last week.

The release of Israeli soldier Galid Shalit was part of the deal, which also included Israeli relaxing its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Shalit was captured by Gaza-based Hamas in a cross-border raid two years ago.

The pan-Arab daily al-Hayat on Thursday quoted an Egyptian official as saying Egypt had not promised Israel it would link the release of Shalit to the opening of the Rafah crossing on its border with the Gaza Strip.

The official denied media reports, citing Israeli officials as saying Egypt promised Olmert not to open the Rafah border crossing unless Shalit is freed.