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Hamas: Shalit not visited by doctors

Dec. 6, 2009 at 1:47 PM

GAZA, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Mahmoud Zahar, described as a strongman for the Palestinian militant group Hamas, says doctors have not visited abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Reports from the BBC and the London newspaper Al-Hayyat indicated four French doctors visited the kidnapped soldier, who is expected to be released soon in a prisoner swap with Israel. But Zahar told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz Sunday there was no truth in the reports.

Haaretz said Zahar denied assertions that doctors accompanied a German mediator involved in Israel-Hamas negotiations for Shalit, who was abducted in a cross-border raid by Gaza militants more than three years ago.

Al-Hayyat reported the doctors went from the Gaza Strip from Cairo via the border crossing at Rafah after giving Shalit a full medical checkup.

Haaretz cited Arab media reports indicating Hamas leaders are trying to delay giving a final answer to Israel's prisoner swap offer for as long as possible.

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