Hamas delaying Shalit deal to gain political power

Hamas was delaying a pending deal regarding the release of kidnapped soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, a top government official said on Wednesday morning. According to the official, Hamas was demanding that Israel release Palestinian prisoners before Shalit was released. The condition contradicts an agreement previously made with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, he said, to release Shalit first. The reason for such a move was to strengthen Hamas politically by ensuring they would be responsible for bringing about the prisoners' release, the official said. It was for this reason that a meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Abbas was being delayed, he added.