The negotiations aimed at securing the release of captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit have resumed, Egyptian sources told Haaretz today.
Shalit was captured by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid in 2006. He has been held by Hamas, the rulers of the Gaza Strip, for over four years. Hamas have demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails in exchange for Shalit’s freedom.
The renewed negotiations are being conducted with the help of a new German mediator as well as the Egyptian intelligence, the sources said. No breakthrough has been reported, but the efforts are ongoing.
The Gaza-based Palestinian website Quds.net reported significant advances in the talks on Sunday, especially surrounding the names of the Palestinian prisoners whose release Hamas is demanding. According to the report, the talks have been undertaken in secret, under Egyptian auspices.
Israel has displayed more flexibility regarding the prisoners it is willing to release, the website reported. In the past, negotiations have broken down over specific prisoners whom Israel was unwilling to free.
The negotiations have been frozen over recent months following the failure of the previous German mediator to achieve a resolution.