Israel denies Abbas reached Schalit deal with PM

Officials in Jerusalem denied on Thursday morning claims by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that he had reached an agreement with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit, Army Radio reported. Conflicting reports on deals for Schalit's release have been circulating since last year; however, no concrete deal has yet been confirmed by both sides. Schalit was kidnapped Hamas-linked operatives last June during a cross-border raid near Gaza.