Barak: Intel not lacking on Schalit

Says Israel continuing to act decisively; Mashaal reportedly heads to Cairo to formulate prisoner swap.

Barak grin 224 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Barak grin 224 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Responding to criticism over the prolonged captivity of kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday that the intelligence community was not at fault. "I suggest that we keep this kind of talk to a minimum," Barak told ministers during the weekly cabinet meeting. "There is no intelligence failure." "Yes, there isn't enough intelligence to bring [Schalit] home, but we are continuing to act decisively for his return," the defense minister continued. "The more we keep this talk to a minimum, the better it will be." On Saturday, Minister-without-Portfolio and former head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) Ami Ayalon criticized the intelligence community regarding the lack of information on the whereabouts of Schalit. Ayalon said that due to an "intelligence failure" it was impossible to free Schalit in a military operation. "There is not enough intelligence in order to carry out such an operation and this stems from an intelligence flaw. The intelligence community has not managed to gather enough information on the issue," Ayalon said in a speech at a "Cultural Shabbat" event in the Gilboa. Meanwhile, Syria-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal will arrive in Cairo on Sunday as part of a renewed effort to formulate a deal with Israel which would include the release of Schalit, the east Jerusalem newspaper Al-Quds reported. According to the report, secret contacts between Israel and Hamas have been ongoing through an Egyptian mediator. These negotiations suddenly made significant progress following the visit of Israeli envoy, Ofer Dekel, to Cairo three days ago, the newspaper reported. The report further stated that Mashaal's visit comes in light of the progress, and that the Hamas leader is expected to speak with senior Egyptian officials about the formulation of a prisoner swap deal which would also include a long-term ceasefire agreement with Israel.