Hamas No 2: Israel to ease blockade

2011-10-18 16:35

Rafah - The Hamas deputy chief said on Tuesday that Israel will ease its blockade of Gaza as part of a prisoners’ exchange and called for the remaining Palestinian prisoners to be freed.

Mussa Abu Marzuk, the deputy head of Hamas's Damascus-based leadership, told AFP on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing that the Islamist group "looked to further (exchange) deals" to free prisoners still in Israeli jails.

He told reporters that "Israel must realise it has to free our remaining prisoners. If they are not released normally, they will be released in other ways".

Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured in 2006, was released earlier on Tuesday by Hamas and transferred to Egypt which then handed him over to Israel. In return Israel released 477 Palestinian prisoners.

A second group of 550 prisoners is to be released in the coming two months although the names have yet to be decided.

Shalit's capture in a cross border raid prompted Israel to impose a blockade on Gaza which it intensified after Hamas seized the coastal enclave in 2007.

"It was included in the (prisoners’ exchange) agreement that measures taken after Shalit's capture will be lifted," Abu Marzuk told reporters when asked whether lifting the blockade was part of the agreement.

Shalit was a 19-year-old corporal on duty along the Gaza border when he was captured on June 25 2006 by militants from three Gaza-based groups, including Hamas.

Three days after Shalit was snatched, Israel launched a massive military operation against Gaza in a bid to secure his release, which lasted five months and left more than 400 Palestinians dead.

  • Alan - 2011-10-18 17:01

    One Israeli for 1000 Palestinians? - Israel got a good deal.

      Mthuthuzeli - 2011-10-18 17:56

      The Palestinians drive a hard bargain.

      Jaba - 2011-10-19 06:25

      The Arab side is the clear winner of the Gilad Shalit swap. If anyone around here thought Israel could challenge the Arab standards of cruelty and primitivism, Tuesday’s events sat the record straight. Israel lost the sadism contest by knock-out. It started in the West Bank, where Hamas fans marked the joyous occasion of their countrymen’s release from jail with some trademark Arab civility: Urging renewed terror attacks and the butchering of Jews. Indeed, when it comes to pure lust for Jewish blood, the Palestinians outshine virtually any competitors.

      Mthuthuzeli - 2011-10-19 08:59

      As if the world is expected to realize the establishment of a religiously racist Zionist state through murder, treachery, and ethnic cleansing is somehow noble?

      TheWally - 2011-10-19 10:55

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