Hamas source: 3 obstacles stop Schalit deal from coming to a close

Hamas source 3 obstacle

Negotiations to free captured IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit are at their peak and only three obstacles prevent them from coming to a close, a senior Hamas official told Al-Hayat in an interview published on Friday. The UK-based newspaper quoted the official as saying that Israel still refused to release 50 out of 450 prisoners on the list presented by Hamas. He also cited as an obstacle Israel's insistence on expelling from the Palestinian territories 130 of the 400 prisoners already agreed upon. The refusal to release prisoners who possess Israeli identity cards was the third point hindering the talks, said the source. The source stated that the German mediator was zigzagging between Gaza and Jerusalem on a daily basis, urging the two sides to overcome the three obstacles. He added that the mediator was exploring the possibility of reducing the number of prisoners to be released in a deal. Al-Quds Al-Arabi, meanwhile, quoted another Hamas source as saying that Israel was "adventurous" in its negotiations for a prisoner exchange. Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal reported on Friday that Iranian National Security Council head Saeed Jalili met with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to discuss the deal.