Hamas: Mubarak knows nothing about Schalit

In rare criticism, group calls Egyptian leader's comments on captured soldier "wishful thinking."

gilad schalit 248 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
gilad schalit 248 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak did not know what he was talking about when he said captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit was alive and well, a top Hamas official announced Wednesday, in rare public criticism of the Egyptian leader. Egypt has been mediating attempts to trade hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel for Schalit, and the Red Cross has not been permitted to visit the soldier in his over three years of captivity. Mubarak said Monday that Schalit was in good condition, although he gave no details on where he got his information. In Gaza, Hamas negotiator Osama al-Muzaini said Mubarak's comment was meant for "public relations consumption" and reflected his "wishful thinking." He said "nobody knows if Schalit is dead or alive," except for his captors. Hamas has been upset with Egypt for joining Israel in an economic blockade of Gaza since the Islamist group seized power there two years ago. Still, up to now, Hamas officials have been careful not to insult Mubarak in public, wary of antagonizing their powerful neighbor. It was not clear why Muzaini used such unusually blunt language. Egyptian officials did not immediately respond. Muzaini said there was no insult. "We aren't embarrassing anybody here," he said. Also, Hamas officials said a meeting Tuesday in Damascus between Hamas and Egyptian officials was friendly and was conducted in a warm atmosphere.