Report: Hamas transfers Schalit tape to Egypt

Egyptian paper: Letter given to authorities; Jerusalem denies knowledge; Mashaal: Schalit is alive.

schalit in uniform 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy of Gilad Schalit's family)
schalit in uniform 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy of Gilad Schalit's family)
Hamas has released a new video tape of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit to Egyptian authorities, Cairo's Al-Ahram Weekly reported on Tuesday. The newspaper quoted diplomatic sources as saying that Hamas had also passed on to the Egyptians another hand-written letter by the Armored Corps soldier. Officials in Jerusalem and Schalit's father, Noam, denied knowledge of the video and letter, Israel Radio reported. The last letter written by Schalit was given to his family on June 9 this year, while an audio recording of his voice was released by Hamas in June 2007, a year after he was captured. Earlier Tuesday, Noam Schalit said he had not seen "effectiveness, decisiveness or creativity" in the ongoing negotiations to free his son, although Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had told him that he would take the task upon himself. Schalit sharply criticized Olmert, saying he was "managing the talks [to return Gilad] badly. He also said that the deal in which Elhanan Tannenbaum was returned to Israel showed that then-prime minister Ariel Sharon was a leader who "you could tell had emotional attachment when it came to prisoner issues." Speaking at a conference in Bar Ilan University on the ethical considerations of hostage and captive issues, Noam also said the IDF "is the army of the nation," and "returning [kidnapped] soldiers is a must." "Returning captive troops is a commitment stemming from military needs," he stressed. Meanwhile, Hamas leader in Syria Khaled Mashaal told the Italian paper La Stampa that Schalit was alive and well, and expressed his surprise that Israel expected to receive Schalit without making greater efforts to set free more than 11,000 Palestinian prisoners he said were incarcerated in Israel.