Hamas official: Schalit won't be last solider we kidnap

Group spokesman says releasing those left in Israeli prisons after exchange is "top priority"; Mashaal reportedly in Cairo to finalize deal.

October 12, 2011 21:02
1 minute read.
Hamas leader in Damascus Khaled Mashaal

Mashaal 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters)


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Hamas on Wednesday warned that Gilad Schalit will not be the last soldier that it will kidnap. Abu Obaida, spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam said that Schalit, who is set to be released as part of a prisoner exchange deal, "will not be the last solider kidnapped by Hamas as long as Israel keeps Palestinian prisoners detained."

The senior official added that his forces were committed to all the prisoners that remain in Israeli prisons after the prisoner swap deal, and their release will be the organization's top priority.

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Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, accompanied by a  delegation, arrived in Cairo on Wednesday to finalize the prisoner exchange deal, DPA reported.

Tuesday night called the deal to exchange Schalit for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners a “great achievement.” “We are happy with this great achievement and we thank our God for that. But our happiness is mixed with sorrow because we were not able to gain the freedom of all prisoners,” Meshaal said from Damascus, speaking in a televised speech.

Hamas presented the prisoner exchange agreement as a “historic victory,” saying Israel has accepted all the demands of the captors.

Abu Obaida said the agreement includes prisoners from east Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs and all the women and minors among the security prisoners.

He also pointed out that two-thirds of the prisoners who would be released in return for Gilad Schalit are serving lengthy terms in prison.

“This is an historic deal,” Abu Obaida boasted. “Hamas will remain faithful to the cause of the prisoners and will continue to work toward securing the release of all of them.”

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