Hamas announced the resumption of indirect negotiations with Israel on the return of a soldier held in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said in an interview published Tuesday that Egyptian mediators who quit Gaza during interfactional fighting there in June have returned, allowing for a resumption of negotiations with Israel about Sgt. Gilad Shalit.
Shalit was abducted to Gaza in a June 2006 cross-border raid led by Hamas. The dominant Palestinian Islamist group has demanded that Israel free hundreds of security prisoners in exchange for Shalit, but the Olmert government has long balked at the asymmetry of the proposed swap.
Speaking to Kuwait’s Al-Jarida newspaper, Abu Zuhri said Israel has submitted new proposals for an exchange but did not provide details. Israeli officials had no immediate comment on the report.