IPS retracts statement about Dekel-Barghouti meetings

The Israel Prisons Service retracted statements made earlier Sunday that Israel's top hostage negotiator Ofer Dekel had met on a number of occasions with high-profile Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti. IPS spokesmen apologized for the statements made to Ma'ariv reporter Avi Ashkenazi, which the said had misled both the reporter and the general public into thinking that such conversations had taken place. Barghouti is currently serving five consecutive life sentences for his involvement in terror activities, and is the epicenter of a hot debate among cabinet members as to whether or not his release should be included in the negotiations for the release of captured IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit.