'Gilad Schalit was accompanied by suicide bombers at time of his release'

In an interview with Al Jazeera set to be broadcast on Thursday, Hamas official claims Hamas had "insurance policy" during Schalit exchange.

March 19, 2015 17:34
1 minute read.
Gilad Schalit

Gilad Schalit released by Hamas captors as part of prisoner swap in 2011.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A senior Hamas military official shed new light on the details of the prisoner exchange deal that saw Gilad Schalit freed from Hamas captivity after five years in October 2011.

In an interview with Al Jazeera set to be broadcast on Thursday, Abd al-Hakim Hanini claimed that while Schalit was being exchanged for the Palestinian prisoners, he was surrounded by Hamas operatives wearing explosive belts.

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Hanini said that the order was given by then-commander of Hamas's military wing, Ahmed Jabari, who was later killed by an Israeli air strike which started Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.

According to Hanini's account, the terrorists accompanied Schalit while wearing explosive belts in order to prevent his return to the Jewish state in the event that Israel would attempt to change at the last minute any details of the deal.

"Jabari told us that Schalit would be accompanied by martyrs with explosive belts around their waists. The military wing would decide - if their would be any violation of the conditions of the deal, Schalit would not return to Israel alive."

Schalit was captured while serving in the IDF near Kerem Shalom on June 25, 2006 by terrorists belonging to Hamas and other terror groups active in Gaza. He was held in Hamas captivity for some five-and-a-half years (1,941 days).

As part of the deal between Israel and Hamas in which he was freed and returned to Israel, 1,027 Palestinian prisoners were released.

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