Hamas rejects report of progress on Schalit deal

Hamas on Monday rejected reports that progress had been made in a deal with Israel to secure the release of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. Israel Radio quoted Osama al-Zeini, identified as the Hamas official in charge of the Schalit issue, as saying there were no signs that a prisoner exchange deal was near. According to al-Zeini, Israel had not yet agreed to free all the prisoners on Hamas's list, and the group did not intend to back down from its demands. He added that Schalit had been abducted in order to secure the release of prisoners serving lengthy prison terms.