Hamas journal: Mashaal to visit Cairo for Schalit talks

By JPOST.COM STAFF
August 30, 2011 13:55

Publication claims delegation will arrive in Egypt this weekend to hear the latest on mediation efforts to reach a prisoner swap deal.

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Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal 311 Reu. (photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal will head a Hamas delegation to Cairo this weekend to discuss a possible prisoner swap for captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, Hamas journal Al Resalah reported Tuesday.

The paper, quoting an unnamed Palestinian source "in the know," reported that the Hamas delegation would meet with senior Egyptian officials and be briefed on the latest Israeli position on a prisoner release.

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The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the veracity of the report.

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Gilad's father Noam on Sunday released a YouTube video to mark the 25th birthday of his son, who has been held by Hamas since 2006.

The video titled "Gilad Schalit's Father Pleads for Gilad's Release" was released in conjunction with the Stand With Us movement which helps fight for the captive soldier's release. In the video, which shows pictures of Gilad as a baby and throughout his childhood, Noam says that for five long years he and his wife have had one dream - "To see our son come home."

"He will be 25 years old and we ask that all the people of the free world to help us to free Gilad before it will be too late," Gilad's father says.

To mark Schalit’s birthday, France and the US on Sunday sent words of support to his parents, as hundreds rallied with them throughout the day to demand his freedom.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy wrote a personal letter to the young man, who holds both French and Israeli citizenship, while United States Ambassador Dan Shapiro visited Noam and mother Aviva in their protest tent in Jerusalem to express both his personal support and that of his government’s for the battle to free Schalit.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.


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