Inside sources told the Palestine News Network Monday that negotiations on securing the release of an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian resistance fighters are underway.  The soldier was captured during an ambush of an Israeli military installation in the southern Gaza Strip yesterday, in which two Palestinian fighters and two Israeli soldiers were killed.

In an exclusive interview with an official source, PNN received word that Israel is now prepared to pay a price for the release of the captive soldier, and that the Palestinian Authority is not a party directly involved in these negotiations. The negotiations are apparently being carried out between armed Palestinian resistance groups directly with the Israeli military, along with Egypt and other parties, while the Palestinian Authority called on Palestinian resistance members to keep the Israeli soldier alive and well-treated.

The negotiations apparently aim to make an exchange of the Israeli soldier for Palestinian political prisoners who are being held in Israeli prisons (despite the fact that international law that dictates that military occupiers do not have the right to imprison the occupied).

The source indicated that these negotiations were proceeding on the basis that the Israeli soldier is alive and well – if that should prove to be otherwise, Israeli forces which began invading Gaza yesterday stand at the ready to do so again.  Apparently the various parties hope to implement a prisoner exchange for the soldier quickly so as not to escalate the situation.  The proposed exchange involves the release of prisoners that have been held for over 20 years by Israel (a condition that was agreed upon by Israel in the Oslo Peace Accord, but never implemented).

A segment of the Al Qassam Brigades, the armed resistance wing affiliated with the Hamas party, declared a state of alert, and fighters prepared to be ready for an attack by Israeli forces near the border areas and the entrances to towns in the Gaza Strip.