Gaza fighting impeding Schalit talks

Egypt, Hamas on hold due to instability; Report: Intel knew about abduction.

shalit, gilad, 298 ap (photo credit: AP)
shalit, gilad, 298 ap
(photo credit: AP)
In light of the current infighting in Gaza between Fatah and Hamas, the frequency of negotiations over the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit have gone down, diplomatic sources said Thursday. According to the sources, contacts between Hamas and Egypt - who has been serving as mediator between Hamas and Israel - will only resume once the situation in Gaza stabilizes. Jerusalem sources speculated that there would be no attempt to harm Schalit, as he was kidnapped for use as a bargaining chip for Palestinian prisoners. Next week - June 25 - will mark one year since Schalit's abduction by Hamas-affiliated operatives in a cross-border raid at Kerem Shalom. Earlier Thursday, a special report published by Army Radio revealed that the army received a specific warning about a planned abduction the day before Schalit was kidnapped. On June 24, the report said, special security forces executed an operation designed to collect intelligence from inside the Gaza Strip. The forces kidnapped two Hamas members, Mustafa and Osama Muamar, and brought them to Israel for interrogation. The information extracted from the two formed the basis for the specific high alert that terrorists would try to infiltrate Israel through tunnels in order to kidnap soldiers stationed near Gaza. According to the report, the IDF responded by augmenting forces already in place with tanks, armor, and observation posts. Nevertheless, terror operatives burst into Israel through tunnels, as intelligence had predicted, and instigated a firefight with IDF troops, during which Schalit was taken captive and two other soldiers killed. Defense Minister Amir Peretz responded to the report by saying, "the kidnapping had prompted a thorough investigation and a change in [the way] forces are deployed."