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Hamas raises price for Shalit to 1,400

Nov. 24, 2006 at 6:43 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- A Hamas official in Lebanon now says Israel must free 1,400 jailed Palestinians in exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The group originally said it would trade the Israeli soldier kidnapped in June for a few hundred Palestinian prisoners.

But Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan was quoted in Friday's Jerusalem Post saying Israel will have to perform a second phase of Palestinian prisoner releases as well

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal of Syria was in Cairo for "crucial" talks with Israel about the prisoner exchange, Hamdan said.

The new demand calls for the release of all Palestinian women and minors incarcerated in Israeli prisons followed by the release of other prisoners according to criteria to be determined by Hamas, Hamden said.

He said Shalit would not be released until Israel begins the second phase of releases.

"We will continue to hold on to the soldier because this is the only way to guarantee that Israel will fulfill the agreement," Hamdan said. "In any case, Hamas is not in a rush to release Shalit because we know that Israel will eventually accept all our demands."

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