Tuesday, 11 October 2011

1,000 Palestinian prisoners to be released in exchange for Israeli prisoner of war Shalit

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A high-ranking source in Hamas said Tuesday a prisoner exchange deal with Israel has been brokered by Egypt and will be implemented next month.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal is expected to confirm the agreement late Tuesday.

Abu Mujahid, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, said Israel agreed to its terms and said Mashaal will make the announcement within hours to clarify aspects of the deal.

A spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas also confirmed the deal, telling Reuters that "We are in the process of completing the technical arrangements to complete the deal within days".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the agreement at an emergency cabinet meeting, saying he concluded arduous negotiations to release Shalit who will be "coming home in the next few days."

As he convened his cabinet to approve the deal involving a swap for Palestinian prisoners, Netanyahu said he had instructed negotiators meeting in Egypt to initial the deal last Thursday.

"Today it was finally summarized and both sides signed," he said. "If all goes according to plan, Gilad will be returning to Israel in the coming days."

Netanyahu said further he had telephoned Shalit's family and told them he was carrying out his promise to bring their son and grandson home, Reuters reported.

Shalit was captured in Israel in 2006 in a cross-border raid. He is believed to be in Gaza. more

Palestinian fighter killed near northern border was on a 'jihad mission', says DFLP

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A 22-year-old man was killed in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday afternoon, after witnesses reported Israeli troops fired at him near the border with Israel.

The military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed Ahmad al-Azazmeh, from the northern city of Beit Hanoun, as a fighter in their brigades, and said he was on a "jihad mission."

An Israeli army spokesman said soldiers identified two people planting an explosive device near forces at the border in northern Gaza early Monday afternoon, and a loud explosion was heard. She denied Israeli troops opened fire.

Witnesses told Ma'an that al-Azazmeh was by the wall when troops shot him and blocked an ambulance from reaching the man before he died.

Israeli forces impose a no-go zone in the border area of the Gaza Strip. more