Mashaal discusses prisoner swap with Egypt's intel chief

Hamas leader in Cairo to thank Egypt for role in prisoner exchange deal and discuss details of implementing transfer of Schalit.

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October 14, 2011 01:52
1 minute read.
Hamas leader in Damascus Khaled Mashaal

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

 
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Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on Thursday held talks in Cairo with the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, Murad Mawafi, over the prisoner exchange agreement between Hamas and Israel.

Sources close to Hamas in the Gaza Strip said that the two men discussed ways of implementing the agreement, including the transfer of Gilad Schalit from the Gaza Strip to Egypt.

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“Schalit is still in the Gaza Strip and he hasn’t been moved to Egypt,” the sources said on Thursday in response to a report in the Egyptian media to the effect that the IDF soldier had already been handed over to the Egyptian authorities.

Mashaal arrived in Cairo at the head of a Hamas delegation to thank Egypt for its central role in reaching the prisoner swap, a Hamas official said.

“We thank Egypt for leading with us strenuous negotiations,” Mashaal told reporters in Cairo. “This agreement is an historic achievement for the Palestinian struggle.”

He is expected to meet soon with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss ways of ending the dispute between Hamas and Fatah, the official said.

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According to the Hamas official, the meeting could take place as early as next week.

Meanwhile, Ezat Risheq, a senior Damascus-based Hamas official, said that the second phase of the Egyptian-mediated deal would be carried out two months after the first stage is completed.

Risheq pointed out that the deal includes many “princes of the resistance” such as Yehya Sinwar, Rouhi Mushtahi, Zaher Jabareen and Muhammad Sharatha.

“This deal fulfills 90 percent of our demands,” Risheq said. “It also includes the fulfillment of all the demands of the prisoners who are on hunger strike [in Israeli prisons].”

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