Report Suggests Hamas, Israel May Be Nearing Prisoner-MIA Swap
In a dramatic statement earlier this week, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza said they were close to a deal with Israel to release Palestinians detained in two recent military operations, possibly in return for the remains of IDF St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul and 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, who were declared Killed in Action during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s NRG News said Tuesday.
“…indirect talks in Cairo will lead to a new deal in which the greatest number of prisoners will be released,” Mushir al-Masri said at an event held in Beit Lahiya Sunday night. “The Resistance must respect the blood of its martyrs and prisoners.”
Al-Masri added that Hamas and other factions held many bargaining chips that they could use to bend Israel’s will to their demands.
While the Hamas official did not elaborate on what those bargaining chips were, nor explicitly name the two troops, Hamas and other terror groups have previously demanded the release of members arrested during Operation Brother’s Keeper, meant to find the bodies of three Israeli high school students, killed near Hebron in June.
Police helmet cam footage released last Tuesday depicts a gunfight between a SWAT team and two of the three Hamas members suspected of abducting and killing Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaer, and Naftali Frenkel from a hitchhiking post in the Gush Etzion area north of Hebron,
In the predawn footage from Hebron, the squad is seen opening fire on a building housing Marwan Qawasmeh, 29, and Amer Abu Aisha, 33, who kidnapped the three on June 12th, killing them a short time later.
In addition to demanding the release of Hamas members Israel detained during the 50-days of Gaza fighting, “The next war will be in all the occupied territories – until Jerusalem,” al-Masri vowed.
Two weeks ago, senior Hamas official Ahmed Yousef, told the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency that the fate of the remains of the IDF soldiers had not been among the issues raised during indirect talks between the sides.
“Discussions over the body of the soldier, Oron Shaul, are expected to take place within the framework of a final agreement in Cairo,” Yousef said at the time.