Hamas: No release for Shalit

June 26, 2011 at 8:55 AM
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JERUSALEM, June 26 (UPI) -- The Palestinian Hamas group holding an Israeli soldier for five years said Sunday he won't be released until Israel releases jailed Palestinians.

Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of the capture of Gilad Shalit from a border position in Gaza. He is reportedly being held in an underground cell, Haaretz reported.

Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem his government had accepted a German mediator's plan to swap Shalit for Palestinian prisoners.

"This situation is difficult and complicated for Israel, but we agreed to accept it in the interest of bringing Gilad home," he said.

However, Hamas spokesman Mahmoud Zahar said there was no progress in the negotiations, The Jerusalem Post reported.

"We remember that the Palestinian prisoners in Israel have not seen the light for 32 years, and they are behind bars," Zahar said.

In Jerusalem, Shalit's father, Noam, told a news conference he held Netanyahu directly responsible for his son's prolonged captivity.

"The stubbornness and the obstinacy that the prime minister displays in this sad affair is a real and immediate threat … to Gilad's life," he said. "It is also a threat to the national strength and values of the state of Israel which we have been raised on for generations."

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