Israel must release 450 Palestinians for Shalit's freedom - Hamas leader
Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured two years ago by Palestinian militants, will not be released unless Israel frees some 450 Palestinian prisoners, a senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Hamas movement said here Monday.
Moussa Abu-Marzouk, Hamas' politburo deputy chief, made the remarks upon arrival at the Egyptian capital to attend the resumed inter-Palestinian national unity dialogue, Xinhua reported, referring to the Egyptian MENA news agency.
The issue related to the prisoner swap between Palestinian groups and Israel will remain in Egypt's hands for mediation, Abu- Marzouk was quoted as saying.
The Hamas leader also denied an earlier report that he received a video of Shalit during his recent visit to the Gaza Strip, which was hit hard during a 22-day Israeli military operation.
"I have no information about Shalit," he said, adding that "I do not know whether Shalit is still alive or not."
Hamas has asked Israel to free more than 1,000 Palestinians in exchange for Shalit, but Israel's insistence to determine the names of the prisoners has led to freezing the Egyptian-mediated negotiations between the two sides.
Israel has officially decided that there will be no truce with Hamas, until the radical movement frees Shalit who was captured in the summer of 2006 by Hamas-led Palestinian groups.