Red Cross asks Hamas for Shalit visit

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The International Committee of the Red Cross called on Hamas to allow Gilad Shalit regular contact with his family and a visit from the humanitarian organization. 

In a news release issued Thursday, the Red Cross said that it has asked Hamas repeatedly to allow contact between the captive soldier and his family, including requests "at the highest level, but these and all others have been refused."

The Red Cross said it has not been able to learn about Shalit’s condition. Shalit was captured during a Hamas cross-border raid three years ago.

"We welcome the fact that yesterday, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter handed Hamas a letter from Gilad Shalit’s family to him," Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, the Red Cross’ head of operations for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

"However, this cannot replace the regular and unconditional contacts with his family that Gilad Shalit is entitled to under international humanitarian law. The ICRC regrets that in his case, political considerations are judged more important than the simple humanitarian gesture of allowing a captive to be in touch with his family after three years of separation."
 

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