Hamas Leader Says Group Agreed to Egypt-Proposed Prisoner Exchange Plan With Israel
JNS.org – Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar declared that the Palestinian terror group has accepted an Egyptian outline for a prisoner exchange deal with Israel, media outlets affiliated with Hamas reported on Thursday.
The reports did not detail the specifications of the Egyptian proposal. It was noted, however, that the group’s leadership accepted the prisoner exchange outline during a recent visit to Cairo.
The proposal has supposedly been passed on to Israel by Egyptian intelligence officials.
“The ball is in Israel’s court and the decision whether to make a deal is in its hands,” a senior official with the terror group told Hamas-affiliated media.
According to the reports, Sinwar’s announcement was accompanied by a warning directed at Israel. “I can launch in 51 minutes the same amount of missiles that I launched over the course of 51 days during Operation Protective Edge,” he said, referring to the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, in which nearly 70 Israelis were killed.
In July, Arabic-language media reported Israel and Hamas were holding secret negotiations meant to yield a prisoner exchange deal that would see the Gaza-ruling terrorist group release several Israeli civilians and return the remains of two soldiers in exchange for the release of Palestinian security prisoners.
Hamas is believed to hold the bodies of Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul and Lt. Hadar Goldin, who were killed in Gaza in separate battles during Operation Protective Edge. Ethiopian Israeli Avera Mengistu and Bedouin Israeli Hisham al-Sayed, who both reportedly suffer from mental illness, crossed into Gaza voluntarily in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and are believed to have been captured by Hamas. Another Israeli, Jumaa Abu Ghanima, crossed the border into Gaza in 2016, and his fate remains unknown.