Israel, Hamas came close to Shalit deal


Israel and Hamas came close to clinching a deal in May for the release of Gilad Shalit from his Gazan captivity.


Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon on Wednesday confirmed recent disclosures by Hamas that Egyptian-brokered talks on freeing Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners almost bore fruit three months ago.



Speaking on Israel Radio, Ramon said the Olmert government had agreed in principle to release 450 prisoners, but balked at some of the names on the roster presented by Hamas. Israel has long ruled out an exchange in which deadly terrorists would be freed from jail.



Ramon said Israel is awaiting a new list of 1,000 names to be submitted by Hamas, whose gunmen led a June 25, 2006 cross-border raid in which Shalit was captured and two other soldiers killed.

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