(photo credit: Associated Press)
A Hamas leader reportedly met with Israeli officials this week in a secret meeting in Netanya, reported the London-based Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday.
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According to the report, Palestinian sources said the meeting took place Tuesday, where Hamas member and former treasurer for the Ismail Haniyeh government, Omar Abed Al-Razak, arrived in an Israeli vehicle coming from Nablus.
The Palestinian sources did not give reasons for the meeting, but the officials apparently discussed the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, who has been kept captive by Hamas for over four years, or the recent rocket attacks in Eilat, Ashkelon and and the Negev.
Other sources connected the meeting with the announcement by the Hamas
leadership in Damascus, which has called for the kidnapping of Israeli
settlers by Hamas operatives in the West Bank, to be used as
bargaining chips for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
Sources stated that the meeting with Abed Al-Razak was meant to warn
Hamas against attempting to kidnap Israelis in the West Bank.
Abed Al-Razak reportedly denied the reports and said, "This information is totally
false and lacks basis. We are prohibited from entering 1948 territory."
On Saturday, in a letter to the Jordanian government, Hamas official Khaled Meshaal reportedly denied firing the Grad rockets from Sinai into Eilat and Aqaba on Monday
, and accussed Israel and Egypt of attempting to exploit the situation diplomatically and politically, reported London based Arab newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi
According to the report, Meshal issued a "clarification letter" to the Jordanian government which accused Israel and Egypt of jointly trying to exploit the rocket attacks to justify a future Israeli military attack on the Gaza Strip.