West Bank – “Israeli media reports suggesting that progress has been made in the Shalit deal are baseless,” Hassan Yusuf, a senior Hamas official in the West Bank, said on Thursday.
Yusuf, who was quoted by the Islamist group’s newspaper al-Risalah, said that negotiations meant to secure the release of the kidnapped IDF soldier were deadlocked.
Meanwhile, Hamas operative Abdullah Barghouti, who is serving 67 life terms in Israel for terror offenses, claimed that senior defense establishment officials have been negotiating part of the deal with him – within prison walls.
“When the Israeli government proves that it is serious, Hamas will negotiate on Shalit,” he said. Israel’s pressure in the case, he concluded, will not prevail.