Hamas militants celebrate 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem )
praise from Hamas's leadership over Israel's agreement
to release over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for tank gunner
Gilad Schalit, some Hamas officials criticized the deal Thursday for failing to
include certain senior Palestinian officials.
According to Israel
Radio, Hamas officials were wary to approve a deal that did not
include Fatah's Marwan Barghouti, PFLP Secretary-General Ahmad Sa'adat,
and senior officials from Hamas's militant wing Ibrahim Hamad, Abdullah
Barghouti, and Abbas as-Said, all of whom have connections to fatal
terror attacks, or groups that carried them out.
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One Hamas official said that Israel had not agreed to release Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa'adat because Jerusalem did not want the deal to be seen as a victory for Hamas, Egyptian Al Ahram reported.
At the same time, Palestinian sources "familiar with deal" told pan-Arab London-based newspaper Al Hayat that
Hamas had "fought fierce negotiations for the release of the
prisoners," adding that it was impossible for both sides to receive 100
And Egyptian source told Al Hayat that
Cairo, which mediated negotiations between the Hamas and Israel, had
made more than 20 proposals in an attempt to "close the gap" between the
negotiating parties, which rested on the difference of only a few dozen
"Hamas achieved 60 percent of its demands," in the
agreement, the source said, adding that the second phase of the deal,
which will involve the release of 550 prisoners, will be finalized
between Israel and Hamas after Schalit is returned home.
has reportedly been transferred to Cairo in order to receive medical
and identification examinations from Israeli officials before the
finalization of the first phase of the deal in which Israel will release
450 Palestinian prisoners and 27 female prisoners. Schalit is expected to be back in Israel by next Tuesday or Wednesday.