Hamas says suspending Shalit talks


Hamas said it was suspending Egyptian-mediated talks on the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The Palestinian Islamists said Friday they would not attend a scheduled round of prisoner-swap talks in Cairo in protest at Israel’s frequent closure of its border crossings with the Gaza Strip.

Hamas called the closures a violation of the Gaza truce which began on June 19, though Israel was responding to cross-border rocket and mortar salvos by Palestinian terrorists.

Israel said the cease-fire, also brokered by Egypt, would speed efforts to release Shalit, who was abducted to Gaza by Hamas-led gunmen more than two years ago. Hamas says it is firm in its original demand that Israel release hundreds of jailed Palestinian terrorists for Shalit – a ransom that the Olmert government long rejected as too uneven.

Cairo had no comment on Hamas’ suspension of talks.

Israel on Sunday said it was reopening the Gaza crossings after another hiatus in Palestinian shelling, a move that could prod Hamas back to the negotiating table.


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