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Egypt seen as key to Shalit freedom

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Ehud Barak told Hosni Mubarak that Egypt is central to securing the release of Gilad Shalit.

The Israeli defense minister and Egyptian president discussed the kidnapped soldier, arms smuggling into Gaza and other issues of regional, diplomatic and security interest during a meeting Tuesday in Alexandria.

Barak said the return of Shalit occupies a place of prime importance on Israel’s national agenda and that the Jewish state views Egypt as a central factor in his return. He also told Mubarak that Israel appreciates Egyptian efforts to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza and asked that more be done to further reduce the smuggling.

Barak also was expected to meet with senior Egyptian defense and intelligence officials.

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