JERUSALEM, July 4 (UPI) -- The Israeli government is delaying negotiations with Hamas for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, the Palestinian group says.
An unidentified senior Hamas official said that by not reopening Gaza Strip crossings following a recent rocket attack, Israel was essentially delaying any talks aimed at bringing Shalit home, Ynetnews reported Friday.
The source said Israel's decision regarding the crossing also constitutes a breach of the precarious ceasefire that had been in place for the troubled region.
Meanwhile, Hamas deputy politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk said both Israel and Egypt must make additional efforts to maintain the ceasefire before any prisoner exchange talks can continue.
"It makes no sense that we launch negotiations while Israel fails to stick to the truce. This issue will be postponed until the Egyptians and the Israelis exert efforts in order to meet the ceasefire agreement, open the crossings and prevent Muhammad Dahlan (a derogatory nickname given to Fatah operatives in Gaza) from thwarting the truce," he told the Israeli news agency.