Hamas spokesman: Solve Gaza crisis diplomatically

The crisis with Israel over the kidnapping of a soldier should be resolved through diplomacy, a senior Hamas government official said Monday, signaling the group may be softening its line after issuing a harsh ultimatum to Israel that expires in less than 10 hours. "Since the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier we have called for the need to protect his life and solve the problem through calm diplomatic channels," said Ghazi Hamad, the Hamas government spokesman. "We reiterate the necessity to resolve this problem with logic and wisdom and we think there remains a chance to reach an acceptable formula." Earlier Monday, Hamas implied it would kill Cpl. Gilad Shalit if Israel does not begin releasing about 1,500 Palestinian prisoners early Tuesday.