The London-based Al Hayat Newspaper reported that it was informed by Egyptian sources that the Israeli security services interrogated dozens of Fateh men who fled out of the Gaza Strip following clashes with Hamas security forces. The Fateh men were interrogation on the whereabouts of the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.
The clashes took place last Saturday in a Gaza neighborhood and at least eleven Palestinian were killed in addition to dozens of injuries.
The Hamas-controlled security forces in Gaza managed to gain control over the neighborhood which was considered a stronghold for Fateh movement, headed by Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.
The Fateh men fled to the Nahal Oz crossing and were taken by Israeli soldiers. Twenty-two of the Fateh men, who were wounded in the clashes, were hospitalized in an Israeli prison hospital. But Israel also forced thirty-two other Fateh members to return to the Gaza Strip and they were arrested by Hamas forces. The rest were moved to the West Bank.
Meanwhile, Israeli army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, stated last Monday that Israel knows that Shalit is still alive, knows his whereabouts and who is holding him.
He also said that Israel hopes to be able to bring Shalit back as it returned Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser who were captured by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.
Egyptian security sources said that the statements of Ashkenazi were meant to force Hamas to change the location of Shalit, a move according to the sources, would enable Israel find him.
The sources added that as Israel is becoming more determined to free Shalit, Hamas is gaining more support and becoming “more extreme in its demands” and that Hamas is trying to achieve a victory that would further strengthen its position and increase its public support.
Hamas is demanding Israel to release 450 detainees; it already presented a list which was relayed to Israel. Yet, Israel refused to release all 450 detainees and only agreed to release 71 of them.
It is worth mentioning that more than 10000 Palestinians are imprisoned by Israel, including hundreds of children and women. Hundreds of detainees are in serious health conditions and need urgent medical treatment.
Furthermore, Mousa Abu Marzouq, head of the political bureau of Hamas movement, stated that every time Israel delays the implementation of a prisoner swap deal, Hamas raises its demands.
Abu Marzouq added that Hamas already presented its demands and that the issue is now in the hands of Israel as the movement will never change these demands.