'Hamas claims Israel trying to kidnap its officials'

Group accuses PM of using prisoner swap negotiations to buy time for preparation of military action to save Schalit, 'Asharq Alawsat' reports.

July 3, 2011 11:21
1 minute read.
Hamas members [illustrative].

Armed Hamas members celebrate Mubarak resignation 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

Hamas accused Israel of plotting to kidnap its high ranking officials in order to ransom them for captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, London based Asharq Alawsat reported on Sunday.

According to the report, Hamas claimed to have arrested and interrogated several collaborators who provided Israeli operatives with surveillance on Hamas officials by staking out their homes.

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The report said stated that Hamas called the alleged kidnapping attempt "proof" that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu still considers military action to be the best option in efforts to release Schalit, and is therefore just using prisoner exchange negotiations to buy time to prepare a military operation.

The Hamas comments cane a week after the group confirmed that it had rejected a prisoner exchange deal brokered by the German mediator Gerhard Konrad, to which Netanyahu had previously agreed.

The deal called for the the release of 1,000 Hamas prisoners in Israeli prisoners, many who have killed Israeli civilians, in exchange for Schalit.

Gilad's father, Noam Schalit, accused the Israeli government last week of failing to put pressure on Hamas in the past five years, saying that without pressuring the terrorist organization, they have no reason to release his son.

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