Shalit turns 21 in captivity

Israelis marked the 21st birthday of captive soldier Gilad Shalit.

Supporters of Shalit held a rally in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, the conscript sergeant’s second birthday in Palestinian captivity. Newspapers and other media carried fresh coverage of his family’s ordeal.

Shalit was abducted in a June 25, 2006 cross-border raid by Hamas-led gunmen in the Gaza Strip. Two of his comrades were killed in the incident.

His father, Noam, said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was not doing enough to recover his son from Hamas, which wants a prisoner exchange.

“There are no serious negotiations, and to judge from the outcome, the situation is a clear and total failure,” he told Israel Radio.

Olmert has signaled a willingness to bargain for Shalit’s return but has ruled out the lopsided swap demands made by Hamas.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said Monday that a deal was almost clinched to trade Shalit for 350 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, but that it fell through over the types of prisoners the Olmert government would release. Israel has said it will only release prisoners not involved in killings.

 

 

 

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