Hamas political leader, Izzat Al Rishiq, denied on Thursday media reports claiming that a prisoner swap deal with Israel is approaching, adding that the deal remains in a deadlock due to Israeli objections and preconditions.Rishiq said said Israel is fully responsible for the obstruction in the swap deal due to what he called “Israeli governments stubbornness”.
In an interview with the Hamas-affiliated, Palestinian Information Center, Al Rishiq stated that several leaders of the Al Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, headed by Ahmad Al Ja’bari, went to Egypt several days ago to discuss the swap deal with Egyptian officials.
He added that, due to Israeli preconditions and obstinacy, the deal remains at a deadlock, the Palestinian Information Center reported.
Furthermore, several Egyptian media outlets quoted Egypt’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, Mohammad Basyouni, stating that the prisoner-swap deal was about to be sealed.
The statements of Basyouni came after a number of media agencies reported that the deal was nearing, and that it could be concluded within hours.
On Wednesday Cairo, the mediator in swap talks between the resistance factions holding corporal Gilad Shalit captive since mid 2006, said that it handed Israel’s Security Chief, Amos Gilad, a letter containing the demands of the resistance.
Egypt is trying to put prisoner-swap swap talks back on the table, especially after its success in brokering the reconciliation agreement between the rival Fateh and Hamas movements.
The Palestinians are holding one Israeli captive, while Israel is currently holding more than 8000 Palestinians captive, including hundreds of women, children, elderly and even patients with serious illnesses.
Shalit was captured when fighters of three resistance groups, including Al Qassam Brigades, infiltrated into a military base across the border with Gaza. Two soldiers and two fighters were killed in the attack.
The resistance is demanding the release detainees sentenced to high terms, detainees who spent many years in prison, children, women and political leaders of different Palestinian factions.