Noam Schalit on Thursday called on jailed Palestinian engineer Dirar Abu Sisi's family to press Hamas to release captive soldier Gilad Schalit.

In a telephone conversation with Abu Sisi's wife Veronica, aired on Israel Radio, Schalit suggested that she should pressure Hamas to release his son in exchange for her husband.

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After acknowledging the difficulty of her situation, Veronica told Noam, "Our feelings are the same. Your son was kidnapped without foundation and my husband was kidnapped without foundation."

Speaking in English, Schalit told her that her husband could be released within a week through the framework of a prisoner exchange proposal, if "the leaders of your government, of Hamas, will be ready to" release Gilad.

Veronica replied that there was "no connection between my husband, between Hamas and [with] Gilad Schalit."

Noam then spoke in Hebrew with a cousin of Abu Sisi in Hebrew, reiterating the same points.

Abu Sisi went missing on a train traveling from Kharkov to Kiev on February 19 and later was revealed to be at the Shikma prison in Ashkelon. Foreign reports said that the engineer, who worked at Gaza's central power plant, had information relating to captive soldier Gilad Schalit.

Speaking at a remand hearing in Petah Tikva District Court Thursday, Abu Sisi declared: "I am innocent, I'm the deputy director of the Gaza power station and I have no connection to the allegations against me."

"Everything is a lie," he said, "I was question about Gilad Schalit and I responded that I'm not connected to the affair." He added that he was abducted in the Ukraine.

Southern district prosecutors announced that they would file an indictment containing serious charges against Abu Sisi within five days. The prosecution added that it will seek an extension of his remand through the end of the proceedings against him.

The court session was held behind closed doors due to a gag order on the case.


PA envoy encourages Ukraine to act

The Palestinian ambassador in Ukraine on Thursday denied that Abu Sisi was a member of Hamas.

Mohammed Al-Assad, the Palestinian envoy in Ukraine, told a news conference in Kiev on Thursday: "He was not a member of any organization".

Describing Abu Sisi's disappearance as a "terrible act of piracy", Assad urged Ukrainian authorities to put pressure on Israel to ensure his safe return to Ukraine. Earlier Thursday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak defended Israel's arrest of Dirar Abu Sisi.

In an interview with Israel Radio, Barak said that Abu Sisi has useful information about Hamas even if it does not concern Schalit, which justifies the arrest.


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