Hamas chief 'got $50m bribe'

2006-10-19 22:12
New York - Israel's UN envoy Dan Gillerman on Thursday charged that Hamas political supremo Khaled Meshaal got a $50m-bribe from Iran to thwart the release of an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian militants.

"The Iranians paid him $50m in order to avert and sabotage an imminent release" of Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit, Gillerman told reporters.

"I informed the security council of news that we received today, that we have every reason to believe that the Iranian regime has bribed Khaled Meshaal, the head of Hamas who is graciously hosted in the capital of terror Damascus by the Syrian regime," he added.

"I believe that the security council is worried about this and I hope that these worries will be translated into action very, very swiftly," Gillerman said after attending a security council meeting on the Middle East.

The June 25 capture of Shalit during an attack in the southern Gaza Strip was claimed by three militant groups - including the armed wing of the governing Hamas movement.

Hamas has demanded the release of about 1 000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails in return for the Israeli soldier.

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