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Hamas announces new condition for talks with Israel over prisoner swap deal
From:Xinhua  |  2020-06-29 21:09

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GAZA, June 29 (Xinhua) -- The Hamas movement based in the Gaza Strip Monday said that it will only enter into negotiations with Israel once all those who were agreed to be released through the 2011 prisoner swap deal are out of jail.

Abdulatif al-Qanoua, spokesperson for Hamas movement, said that no deal will be reached with Israel unless it frees those it had detained again three years after the swap deal over the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was abducted in southern Gaza in 2006.

"Freeing the 60 currently imprisoned Palestinians who were released as part of the Shalit deal is an essential condition to start talks over a new deal," said al-Qanoua during a protest near the International Red Cross Society office in Gaza.

"Israel has not respected the agreement after it re-detained the Palestinians it had released in the deal," he said, urging Egypt to pressure Israel for their release.

In October 2011, Egypt brokered a prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas, where Israel handed over 1,028 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of Shalit.

However, Israel imprisoned at least 70 Palestinians who had been released as part of the deal in 2014.

Israel believes that two Israeli citizens, Avera Mengistu and Hisham a-Seid, who disappeared after willingly crossing into Gaza, are kept in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

In addition, Hamas is believed to hold the remains of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, two soldiers killed during Israel's military campaign in the Gaza Strip in 2014.

Al-Qanoua's remarks came one day after Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz instructed the army to use the remains of Palestinians withheld in Israel as "bargaining chip" for captured Israelis in Gaza. Enditem