Haniyeh aide: Hamas not opposed to including Schalit in truce deal

Hamas is not opposed to including the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit in a possible truce deal with Israel, Ahmad Youssef, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's top aide, said Friday. However, Youssef told Hamas newspaper Al-Rasala that this can only be done according to the conditions set by Schalit's captors. In contrast, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Farzi Barhoum, said that the organization was ready to conclude talks on releasing Schalit as soon as possible but that the issue was unconnected to a Gaza truce. Barhoum accused Israel of trying to dodge Hamas' demands to free Palestinian prisoners. Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha said that a Hamas delegation would travel to Egypt at the start of next week for discussions with Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman on a cease-fire. Hamas representatives from Damascus are also set to attend the talks.