Hamas's Mashaal: Prisoner deal is 'historic victory'

Mashaal says 1,000 prisoners in exchange for Schalit; Izaddin al-Kassam spokesman claims Israel has accepted all the demands of the captors.

Mashaal 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
Mashaal 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on Tuesday night called the deal to exchange Gilad Schalit for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners a “great achievement.” “We are happy with this great achievement and we thank our God for that. But our happiness is mixed with sorrow because we were not able to gain the freedom of all prisoners,” Meshaal said from Damascus, speaking in a televised speech.
Hamas presented the prisoner exchange agreement as a “historic victory,” saying Israel has accepted all the demands of the captors.
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Abu Obaida, spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam, said the agreement includes prisoners from east Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs and all the women and minors among the security prisoners.
He also pointed out that two-thirds of the prisoners who would be released in return for Gilad Schalit are serving lengthy terms in prison.
“This is an historic deal,” Abu Obaida boasted. “Hamas will remain faithful to the cause of the prisoners and will continue to work toward securing the release of all of them.”
Hamas officials revealed that the agreement was achieved with the help of the Egyptians. They said that the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, Murad Mawafi, was personally involved in the negotiations.
According to the officials, Ahmed Ja’bari, Izzadin Kassam’s overall commander, visited Cairo two weeks ago to oversee the final details of the exchange.
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