Egyptian official: Shalit free by November

Aug. 14, 2008 at 3:55 PM
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CAIRO, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- The head of Egyptian intelligence hopes to negotiate a deal with Hamas for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by November.

Egyptian Gen. Omar Suleiman discussed the possibility during talks in Cairo with Israeli negotiators, Ynetnews reported.

But Israeli negotiators Amos Gilad and Ofar Dekel said they feared that talks have stalled. Hamas has suggested that "heavier" prisoners must be released by the Israelis in return for Shalit. In an exchange for the bodies of two captured Israeli soldiers, Hezbollah in Lebanon received several living prisoners, including one serving a life sentence for multiple killings, as well as the bodies of Hezbollah fighters killed in Israel.

"If Israel paid so much to Hezbollah for dead soldiers, we can demand more for a living soldier," a Hamas negotiator told the Egyptian mediator.

Israel's major card is the Rafah border crossing from Gaza to Egypt. It has said that the crossing won't be opened until Shalit is freed.

Shalit, who turns 22 in two weeks, was captured in June 2006 in a raid hear the Gaza Strip.

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