Sources: Progress on Shalit release talks

Nov. 18, 2009 at 11:59 AM
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JERUSALEM, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Progress has been made in striking a deal to secure the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, multiple sources say.

A source close to the families of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel told Haaretz Wednesday signs of a breakthrough in talks to free Shalit, who was abducted by Gaza militants in 2006, are appearing and hopes have been raised he could be freed by Friday's Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

"We are receiving hints of significant progress in negotiations, although we are always careful with these things because changes can always occur at the last minute," the source told Haaretz, adding families are hopeful of celebrating a deal by Eid.

An unnamed Hamas source also told the newspaper there has been progress in talks, in which the militant group is demanding the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit.

Hamas, the source reportedly said, may be willing to compromise and send some of the prisoners abroad instead of to their Gaza and West Bank homes.

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