Report: Egypt given new prisoner list

Suleiman: Schalit talks still continuing; Cairo in constant contact with Hamas.

omar suleiman dubious298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
omar suleiman dubious298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Former deputy Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief and the government's representative in prisoner exchange negotiations, Ofer Dekel, visited Cairo last week and gave the Egyptians a list of prisoners Israel was willing to release in exchange for captured IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit, Al-Hayat quoted an Egyptian source as saying on Monday morning. However, according to the source, Hamas opposed the offer because there were no Popular Resistance Committees members on the list, arguing that the group had also participated in Schalit's capture. Israel Radio reported that Dekel urged that either Egypt send its security delegation back to Gaza or that that negotiations to secure Schlait's release be conducted on Egyptian soil. Earlier Sunday night, Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman told a Meretz delegation in Cairo that talks with Hamas on securing the release of Schalit were ongoing. He said Egypt had kept in constant contact with Hamas even after its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip but stressed that the country was acting against extremist Palestinian elements. Suleiman added that Egypt was still waiting for Israel's response on a specific issue but he refused to divulge what the issue in question was, Israel Radio reported. The Egyptian intelligence chief emphasized that at this stage, the Egyptian security delegation would not return to the Gaza Strip. Suleiman said that Egypt sought to bolster Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, adding that extremist elements must be persuaded to moderate their stances.