Shalit’s father consoles Hamas official

The father of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit extended condolences to a Hamas official bereaved by Gaza fighting.

Noam Shalit sent a condolence letter Wednesday to Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas leader whose son, a gunman, was killed by Israeli forces near Gaza City this week.

“May the day come when neither of our sides knows such pain,” read the letter, quoted on Israeli television Channel 2.

Zahar, who is considered a hard-liner even by the standards of a Palestinian Islamist movement committed to seeing the Jewish state destroyed, confirmed receiving the letter but declined further comment.

Hamas has been holding Shalit’s son Gilad since abducting the conscript on the Gaza border in June 2006. The killing of Zahar’s son stirred concern in Israel that efforts to retrieve Shalit, perhaps through a prisoner swap, could be impeded.

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