Israel agrees to swap hundreds of prisoners for kidnapped soldier

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Egyptian sources reported he re that an Israeli negotiator is expected in the North African nation to discuss indirect dealings with Hamas for the release of a kidnapped Israeli soldier as part of a prisoner swap.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s envoy Ofer Dekel is scheduled to hold talks with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, the sources said.

The pan-Arab daily Al Hayat reported that Egyptian sources had revealed that Corporal Gilad Shalit would be handed over to Egypt before returning to Israel after two years in Gaza captivity.

“The prisoner exchange deal would see the release of 150 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of Shalit who will be handed over to Egypt, where he will stay for a week and see his family,” a source was quoted as saying.

“He would then go to Israel and once there, another 300 Palestinian prisoners would be released. Two months later, 550 prisoners would be released, mainly women and children,” the source added.

Many of the names put forth by Hamas as part of a proposed prisoner exchange have been objected to by Israel as “they have Jewish blood on their hands,” the source added.

“Egypt has given Israel a list of 1,000 names, but (Israel) has reservations about 75 per cent of them. Israel is willing to consider their release on condition they leave the Palestinian territories to guarantee that they will not carry out any operations against Israel,” the Israeli government has repeatedly said.

Suleiman was instrumental in securing a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that went into effect 19 June. Panapress.

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