Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal 311 Reu.
(photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)
political leader Khaled Mashaal was set to meet Wednesday with Egyptian
Intelligence chief Murad Muwafi, Israel Radio reported.
were expected to discuss a prisoner exchange deal to free IDF soldier
Gilad Schalit, Israel Radio reported the Egyptian paper Al Hayat as saying.
'Israel willing to 'pay the price' for freeing Schalit'
Hamas optimistic over exchange deal for Schalit
In a rare occurrence, Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed Tuesday
there was a kernel of truth to the rumors
of renewed talks in Egypt for the release of captive soldier Gilad Schalit, as
exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal arrived in Cairo from Syria.
Israeli media further speculated Israel has reduced the number of
security prisoners to be exiled from the area after their
“I don’t want to say anything [about Schalit] because I don’t
think it helps,” Barak said in an interview with Tel Aviv Nonstop Radio on
But when asked specifically about Mashaal’s arrival in Cairo and
increased Israeli flexibility in the deal, Barak said, “There is a grain of
truth in the rumors.”
“These reports are part of the process but I prefer
not to speak [about it],” he said.
The defense minister said he believes
there were serious talks with Hamas “twice in the past five years, but they
In past talks Hamas demanded the release of 1,000 prisoners,
including 450 that it named.
The list includes prisoners responsible for
terror attacks against Israel.Reuters contributed to this report.