Egypt: Israel wrong to tie Schalit issue to Gaza truce

February 19, 2009 18:30

Israel's latest demand that kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit be released before a long-term Gaza truce deal with Hamas is agreed upon is a blow to Egyptian mediation efforts between the two sides, Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday. Hossam Zaki said that linking Sgt. Gilad Schalit - captured in a 2006 raid by Hamas-linked Palestinians and held in Gaza since - to the truce would "hinder any chances for a cease-fire." Israel announced on Wednesday that it would not open Gaza Strip's blockaded border crossings - a key Hamas demand - until Schalit is freed.

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