Report: Huge progress in Schalit deal

Report Hamas and Israel

Israel has agreed to release 380 out of the 450 prisoners requested by Hamas in exchange for the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, Fox News reported Thursday evening. Fox News quoted a source as saying that negotiations between Israel and Hamas on the subject through German mediation were picking up. According to the report, after Israel said it would not release 70 out of the 450 long-term prisoners on the list, Hamas sent back a list comprised of 70 different names in the hope that this time, Israel would find it acceptable. Many of the prisoners whose release was demanded by Hamas are considered to have "blood on their hands," meaning they actively participated in terrorist attacks. The source told the news network that Israel had not yet reviewed the new list. Schalit has been held captive by Hamas since June 2006. Sources in the Palestinian Prisoner Committee told Israel Radio on Thursday that Israel Prisons Service (IPS) personnel had begun to treat political prisoners differently, suggesting that a deal was in the works. Earlier this week, an Al-Hurra report suggested that progress had been made toward securing his imminent release to Israel via Egypt. Schalit's father Noam reacted to the optimistic reports in a subdued, cautious manner. "It's not over 'til it's over," he said following a meeting with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Wednesday.