Hamas thwarted an Israeli attempt to locate abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit in the Gaza Strip, Channel 2 quoted Hamas officials on Thursday.
The Channel 2 report quoted Hamas officials as claiming they had uncovered an Israeli scheme to monitor the calls of senior Hamas officials, hoping to place Shalit’s location through bugged mobile phones provided by an Israeli agent for three years.
According to the report, first published in the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram, Hamas officials got rid of the wired phones as soon as they uncovered the scheme, but were unable to arrest the agent involved, claiming he successfully escaped across the border to Israel with assistance from IDF forces.
Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Palestinian militants during a cross-border raid on his IDF post near the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in June 2006.
On Sunday, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip denied that the militant group had resumed prisoner swap negotiations with Israel for the release of captured Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.
Egyptian sources told Haaretz earlier Sunday that the talks, conducted by a new German mediator, are being held with Egyptian intelligence officers. No breakthrough was reported, but the efforts are ongoing, he said.
The Gaza-based Palestinian website Quds.net on Sunday reported significant progress in the talks, especially regarding the Palestinian prisoners whose release Hamas is demanding. According to the website, the talks have been undertaken in secret, under Egypt’s aegis.
Israel is displaying more flexibility regarding the prisoners it is willing to release, Quds.net said. In the past, negotiations broke down over specific prisoners whom Israel was unwilling to free.
According to the website, Israel is now willing to be more flexible on a number of prisoners it had previously refused to release because they had blood on their hands or represented security risks. The list includes Marwan Barghouti, Ahmad Sadat, one of Hamas’ military faction’s leaders, Ibrahim Hamad and Hamas activists Abdullah Barghouti, Abbas Sayad, Jamal Abu Al-Hija.