Abbas says he'll push for release of Schalit

March 25, 2007 17:35


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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday he will press to win the release of Gilad Schalit, an Israeli soldier held for nine months by Hamas-allied operatives, but said it must be met by the release of Palestinian prisoners. "We have a responsibility to keep him alive," Abbas told a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "We are sure he is in good condition and alive, and we want to return him alive." Abbas said that "when we speak about the soldier, we speak of the prisoners," referring to more than 9,000 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. Schalit was captured in June and is believed held in Gaza. Hamas has demanded the release of some 1,400 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for freeing Shalit.

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