Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has suspended negotiations over transferring to the Palestinian Authority the bodies of 84 Palestinian militants buried in a cemetery in Israel, his office confirmed Tuesday.
According to a statement, the minister wants first to check that among the 84 bodies are no corpses which could feature in a swap deal to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who is currently being held in the Gaza Strip, and whose release is the subject of - so far - unsuccessful negotiations, DPA reported.
Barak's decision came shortly after the Israeli military confirmed that Prime Minister Netanyahu approved the transfer of the 84 bodies.
According to Palestinian officials, Netanyahu's decision came after more than a year of negotiations.
Hussein al-Sheikh, the Palestinian Authority official in charge of liaison with Israel, said Monday that after the handover of the 84 bodies, Israel would still retain 102 bodies, which are also expected to be released, "without any conditions," at a later date.
The Palestinian Ma'an website published a list of the names of the 84 to be turned over. Most of them were killed in the Palestinian uprising which broke out in September 2000.