Hamas forms panel to deal with captured Israeli soldiers

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Gaza, April 21 (IANS) An official of the Islamic Hamas movement said on Wednesday that a committee has been formed to deal with the issue of the Israeli soldiers held by the group.

“Hamas is confident that a prisoner swap deal with Israel is coming,” leading Hamas figure Mushir al-Masri told an event in Gaza in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, Xinhua reported.

He added that Hamas will not initiate negotiations with Israel unless it admits the previous deal, referring to the demand to release Palestinian prisoners.

He stressed that Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas military wing, will not accept but for an honourable deal.

On April 1, a spokesman for the Al Qassam Brigades in Gaza showed pictures of four Israeli soldiers, said to be missing in the Gaza Strip since 2014.

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“There is no contact with the occupation (Israel) in relation to the missing soldiers in Gaza and we won’t give free information,” he said, adding that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lied to his people when he spoke about his prisoners.

In the summer of 2014, Israel waged a large-scale military operation on the Gaza Strip that lasted for 50 days. The offensive left 2,200 Palestinians and 70 Israelis dead and four Israeli soldiers missing.

Hamas refused to say whether the four Israeli soldiers were dead or alive. However, Israel had repeatedly announced that the soldiers were killed during the offensive and asked Hamas to bring their corps back.



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