'Marzouk received letter from Schalit'

Kuwaiti report: Hamas leader will give handwritten note from kidnapped soldier to Syrian president.

March 3, 2009 10:46
1 minute read.
Hamas abu marzouk 248 88

Hamas abu marzouk 248 88 ap. (photo credit: AP [file])

Damascus-based Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk received a letter written by captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit during his short visit to the Gaza Strip last week, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported on Tuesday. Abu Marzouk, who is the deputy of exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, met with Gaza leaders from his organization's military wing, "including officials responsible for the captivity of Schalit," such as Izzaddin Kassam Brigades' top commander Ahmed Jabari, the article stated. Abu Marzouk will deliver the letter to the Syrian Foreign Ministry, but it is not known where it will go from there, the article stated. The Kuwaiti report, which cited anonymous "Palestinian sources close to Hamas," could not be verified by The Jerusalem Post. A Hamas official in Gaza would not confirm the report, Israel Radio reported on Tuesday. Abu Marzouk, who was born in the Rafah refugee camp, spent nearly 24 hours in Gaza after entering from Sinai on Thursday night, visiting family and his parents' graves, an Israeli defense official told the Post on Sunday. It is believed to be his first visit to Gaza in at least 20 and possibly 30 years. The move angered defense officials, who called Egypt's decision to allow him to enter the Gaza Strip as "a slap in the face." Some media reports have said Marzouk visited Gaza for consultations on a cease-fire with Israel and the release of Schalit. Egypt is now mediating talks between Israel and Hamas concerning the potential renewal of a cease-fire and a prisoner exchange agreement that would include the release of Schalit, who has been held captive in Gaza since he was abducted in June 2006. In June 2008, a letter written by Schalit to his parents was transferred to them by Hamas via the Carter Center. That letter was the third Schalit had sent to his parents since his abduction. Hamas released the letter as part of a promise it gave former US president Jimmy Carter during a meeting in April 2008. In the handwritten correspondence, Schalit wrote: "I am in bad health; I dream of the day when I will return home. I hope to return soon and demand that the government not abandon me." Yaakov Katz, Tovah Lazaroff and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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