HAMAS OFFICIAL THREATENS TO CEASE GILAD SCHALIT RELEASE NEGOTIATIONS

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Captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit

A Hamas official was quoted by Israel Radio on Saturday morning as saying that the group may cease negotiations to free kidnapped IDF solider Gilad Schalit if Egypt does not free Ayman Nofal, a senior Hamas leader.

At a rally, Hamas leader Youssef Farahat told supporters that unless Nofal was released, Egypt could not continue to host negotiations with Israel on the matter.

“We have put the file of Schalit in the fridge and it will remain frozen unless Ayman Nofal is freed,” Farahat said.

Nofal was arrested in Egypt on the suspicion that he was planning a terrorist attack in the country.

Also commenting on the situation, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri noted that Farahat’s comments showed Hamas’s dissatisfaction over the matter.

“Nofal’s continued detention is annoying and it has topped the agenda of all talks with Egyptian officials. We hope Egypt can end it by freeing him,” the Hamas spokesperson said.

Last month a ministerial committee finalized a list of 450 Hamas prisoners who could be released in exchange for Schalit.

Schalit has been held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip since June 2006.

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