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Shalit's release still outlying four years after captivity

 

GAZA, June 25 (Xinhua) -- It has been already four years for abducting the Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit during a cross-border raid in southeast Gaza Strip in June 25, 2006 by militants of the Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the enclave, while finalizing a prisoners' swap deal with Israel is still pending.

Israeli PM faces growing public pressure over rescuing captive soldier Shalit watches World Cup at captivity Palestinian observers believe that regional and international circumstances obstruct finalizing a prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and Israel, which is still hesitant to release dozens of Palestinian prisoners for freeing its soldier.

Since Hamas militants and two other minor militant groups kidnapped Shalit, Hamas has been demanding Israel to release 1,000 prisoners, including 450 of life sentences in Israeli prisons. Israel rejects to release them, claiming that they have "Jewish blood" on their hands.

INDIRECT TALKS TO FREE SHALIT SUSPENDED

Osama al-Muzeini, a Hamas official in charge of speaking to the media about Shalit's case, told Xinhua that his movement still rejects under any circumstances to make concession over its demands for freeing Shalit, adding that Israel "is responsible for obstructing the deal."

"The indirect negotiations to finalize the prisoner swap deal had witnessed a tangible progress and we were closed to reach an agreement at the beginning of this year, but the Israeli government retreated and insisted on its conditions which kept the deal in a standstill," said al-Muzeini.

Although he reiterated that the deal is "frozen", he revealed that there are foreign efforts "from time to time to discuss reviving the indirect talks and reach a compromise that finalizes the prisoner swap deal." Israel insists to link the blockade on Gaza with Shalit.

Hawkish Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier stated that Israel "always looks for other means to bring Shalit safe and sound." He insisted on the Israeli conditions that Israel won't release prisoners that would renew their military actions against the Jewish state.

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