Hamas denies Iran tried to delay Schalit release

Hamas denied reports on Saturday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad requested its representatives in Damascus to delay a deal for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier, Gilad Schalit, until the summer's end, Israel Radio reported. A Hamas spokesman in Gaza said that the claims were baseless and that it was Israel who was the cause of a setback in talks for a prisoner exchange. If Israel would accept the deal's conditions, Hamas would be ready to find a solution today, said the spokesman. Abu Obeida, the group's armed wing's spokesman, denied reports that Iran had paid millions of dollars to Hamas leader in Syria Khaled Mashaal to hinder the release.