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Hamas has changed tactics regarding a prisoner exchange to free IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, and will not engage in media battles over a proposed agreement, a senior Hamas official was quoted by Al-Hayat as saying on Saturday.
The official also claimed that the deal was nearing completion.
The source told the London-based Arab paper that Hamas's leaders in Damascus had decided that while they would not accept the most recent Israeli offer, they would also not reject it outright or attack Israel through the media, but would submit a counter-offer.
"At this stage we prefer not to open a front in the media that might negatively impact negotiations. We prefer to quietly hold negotiations to reach solutions to the issues of contention," the official said.
He explained that the remaining points of disagreement now centered on a small number of prisoners Israel refuses to release, as well as on the number of prisoners who will not be allowed to return to the West Bank.
Abu Obeida, a spokesman for the group's Izzadin Kassam military wing, told Al-Jazeera on Friday evening that Hamas has yet to make a decision on Israel's latest proposal.
Obedia denied reports that Hamas had relayed its response to the German mediator.
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