Defense Ministry official: No agreement to free 71 Palestinian prisoners

The Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Military Bureau chief Maj.- Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad denied a report that Israel had agreed to release 71 Palestinian prisoners in return for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. Speaking to Army Radio, Gilad said such reports "have no connection to the real result, which is the release of Schalit well and unharmed." Deputy chairman of Hamas's political bureau, Moussa Abu Marzouk, had told the London-based pan-Arabic newspaper, Al-Hayat, that Israel agreed to free the 71 prisoners, adding that despite the purported progress, the group was sticking to its original demand that Israel release 270 inmates.