Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, stated Wednesday that it received the Israeli response to the prisoner-swap deal through the German mediator, and added that its leaders would study the Israeli response before handing their official stance to the mediator.

The movement issued a press release in this regard but did not reveal details on the Israeli response regarding a list of names of detainees Hamas insists on their release as part of a swap deal.

Meanwhile, Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, stated Wednesday that Israel considers the release of the captured prisoner of war, Gilad Shalit, as a top priority.

He added that Israel is conducting explicit actions, in addition to its secret operations and efforts to secure the release of Shalit.
Ashkenazi favors a deal with Hamas movement, including the release of
Palestinian detainees believed to be responsible for attacks against Israel.

Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that Ashkenazi said that he, as a chief of staff, is obliged to secure the release of Shalit, and that he hopes this issue would be done soon.

He also said that detailed discussions on a swap deal should be conducted behind closed doors.

Israel approved the release of 450 detainees but Hamas insists on the release of detainees in specifically mentioned in its list. There are some 100-130 detainees who are believed to be involved in deadly attacks, and Israel insists that they should be deported should they be set free.

Hamas is demanding the release of dozens of leaders of its military wing, and other fighters from different factions, and also insists on the release of Fateh leader, Marwan Barghouthi, and secretary-general of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmad Saadat.