Israeli leaders focused on Shalit release

Nov. 24, 2009 at 11:15 AM
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JERUSALEM, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Tuesday said Israel has a moral responsibility to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit from Palestinian militants.

Shalit, 23, was captured June 25, 2006, at the Kerem Shalom crossing in Israel and has been held in Gaza since then.

"We have a supreme moral and commanding responsibility of bringing Gilad back home using any appropriate and possible means," Barak told new recruits at an induction center at Tel Hashomer.

Barak offered no details of any impending plan and neither did Israel army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, who spoke with reporters Tuesday during a tour of military posts in southern Israel.

"I hope he will be returned soon, as someone who sent him to battle and as his commander," Ashkenazi said. "I cannot elaborate further."

Tuesday, the London-based newspaper al-Hayat quoted Palestinian sources as saying a prisoner exchange deal was once again being discussed between Israeli and Hamas leaders, Ynetnews.com reported.

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