'Turkey sponsoring Schalit negotiations with Hamas'

Palestinian officials tell Chinese news agency that talks are still in early stages and it is "too soon to talk about breakthrough."

By JPOST.COM STAFF
May 21, 2011 12:31
Captured soldier Gilad Schalit in video

Gilad Schalit in video 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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Egypt and Turkey are sponsoring indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel on the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, Palestinian sources told Chinese news agency Xinhua on Friday.

The negotiations are still in the early stages and it is "still too early to talk about a breakthrough," the sources told the Chinese news agency.

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On Thursday, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said Egypt is making vigorous moves to advance a prisoner exchange deal that would see Schalit released.

"Schalit's release depends on the Israeli position," Mashaal said. "The ball is now in [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu's court," saying Netanyahu is responsible for the lack of progress in the deal.

Also on Thursday, the US added The Army of Islam, one of the organizations responsible for the capture of Schalit, to its list of terror organizations.

The State Department said that the Gaza-based terrorist group recently announced its intentions to cooperate with al-Qaida, and that its members were responsible for attacks on Egyptians.

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