'We demanded Schalit's release long ago'

PA Prisoners' Affairs Minister Ashraf Eid al-Ajrami responded Monday to the recording of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. "I bless any release of prisoners no matter who they belong to," Ajrami said. "We hoped that Olmert would release prisoners as a unilateral move to strengthen Abbas's government." The PA minister added: "We called for his release long ago. We hoped that this story would end well. We have suffered much from the abduction of Gilad Schalit, especially in the Gaza Strip." "I hope that there will be decisions regarding the situation in the territories, especially in Gaza… the people there are in a very bad way… we also want Israel to decide that it will retract its forces so that the Palestinian forces can operate… we have begun a major operation in the west bank- to collect all of the illegal weapons."