By TOVAH LAZAROFF
"You can call me any time," top Hamas official Ahmed Youssef told the father of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit during a telephone conversation on Tuesday.
The two men spoke one day after Youssef authorized the release of an audiocassette of the 20-year-old, who was kidnapped by Hamas a year ago near Kerem Shalom on the Gaza border.
It was the first time his family had heard Schalit's voice since he was taken.
At the urging of Channel 10 during a live broadcast, Youssef called Noam Schalit.
Both men spoke English in what was the first conversation between them.
"Noam, hi, how are you?" said Youssef, who is the senior adviser to deposed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
"Hi, hello, thanks, how are you?" replied Noam Schalit.
"I hope that you are satisfied now by at least hearing the voice of your son," said Youssef.
Noam sighed. "After a year, yes," he said, and then added, "We hope it is the beginning of a new start. Thanks for your concern. Hopefully progress will be made."
Then he suggested that the two men speak away from the cameras.
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