Schalit captors want Barghouti, Saadat

Palestinian paper says prisoner exchange to be implemented in three stages.

barghouti prison 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
barghouti prison 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Initifada leader Marwan Barghouti is among the hundreds of prisoners the captors of IDF Cpl. Gilad Schalit want freed in a swap, the Palestinian Authority information minister said Monday. Schalit's captors handed the names of Palestinian prisoners they want freed to Israel several days ago, through Egyptian mediators. Little is known about the list, including the number of names on it. However, PA Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti confirmed Monday that two of the most senior Palestinian prisoners, Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Saadat, are on the list. The information minister and the prisoner are distant relatives. Marwan Barghouti, seen as a potential successor to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, is serving five consecutive life terms for his role in shooting attacks that killed four Israelis and a Greek monk. Saadat heads the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. "The list of the prisoners we want released very soon includes the names of Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Saadat, and many other people who had been there for a long time," Mustafa Barghouti said. According to reports in the Palestinian media earlier Monday, Schalit's captors were also demanding the release of Hassan Salameh as part of any prisoner swap. Salameh is responsible for planning several suicide attacks against Israel that were carried out as a response to an IDF assassination in 1996, Israel Radio reported Monday. Hamas is also demanding the release of Fuad Shubaki, a high-ranking Fatah official and the paymaster of the 2001 Karine-A affair, during which the IDF intercepted a Gaza-bound Iranian weapons ship. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Al-Ayyam newspaper reported that a planned deal for Schalit's release will be implemented in three stages: First, Israel will release prisoners sentenced to long terms who have already been imprisoned for years, and Schalit's captors will transfer him to Egypt. Then, Israel will release an additional group of prisoners, and Schalit will be transferred from Egypt to Israel. In the last stage, to be completed some two months after Schalit is home, Israel will free a third group of Palestinian prisoners. Israel has not confirmed the report of such terms.