Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin.
(photo credit: REUTERS,Courtesy)
Shortly after the Security Cabinet on Wednesday approved the reconciliation deal with Turkey, a senior Hamas official claimed that Turkey is currently mediating a prisoner swap between the Palestinian terror organization and Israel.
The reconciliation accord was met with a massive clamor of objection by the families of Hamas prisoners held in Israel.
In an interview with the Saudi news site al-Khaleej Online on Wednesday, an anonymous Hamas official said that his organization and Israel have started negotiating on a prisoner swap regarding the return of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul
, the two Israeli soldiers whose bodies were held by the terrorist group after they were killed during the 2014 Gaza war.
"An important meeting between a big delegation of Hamas and Turkish intelligence took place in Turkey a few weeks ago to discuss a number of Palestinian issues related to the Gaza Strip, among them a possible prisoner swap," the Hamas official said.
"Turkey is currently acting as a mediator to conclude a prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel. It is making important moves and holding important talks, and it went to great lengths in order to reach a good launch point that will enable the parties to conclude a deal," the official added.
"Many obstacles prevent the parties from reaching an agreement, mainly Israel's foot-dragging on giving Turkey official assurances regarding the prisoner swap," the Hamas official said.
According to the senior Hamas official, in any future prisoner exchange with Israel, all Palestinian prisoners who were arrested after being released as part of the Gilad Schalit deal in 2011 must be freed.
The official added that "an announcement on a prisoner swap may take place during the upcoming months," stating that the reconciliation deal concluded between Israel and Turkey will greatly contribute to the consolidation of a prisoner deal.
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