A senior IDF official said Thursday that kidnapped soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit was being kept in the Gaza Strip and was in Hamas hands.
The official speculated that Shalit had transformed from an asset to a burden, both on the Palestinian people and on the Hamas leadership, and therefore the organization was interested in bringing the affair to a close.
The official also emphasized that Khaled Mashaal had the final word on the issue. Mashaal was subject to pressure from Hizbullah, Syria, and Iran on the one side, he said, and from the Palestinian leadership - who would like to see the issue resolved as soon as possible - on the other.