Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz on Monday said it pained him that Israel was releasing Palestinian prisoners before the return of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit for captivity in Gaza. "I ask: why are we releasing prisoners with blood on their hands," Mofaz said. "We will have to release prisoners for Gilad Schalit. We need more determined leadership that will know how to maintain the interests of Israel - and the interest of Israel is to release Gilad Schalit. For that we need to keep prisoners to use in exchange for him. Releasing prisoners now is a very big mistake and I call for not conceding an important asset." Earlier Monday, Israel had released 198 Palestinian prisoners as a 'gesture of goodwill' towards Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.