Report: Hamas interested in Israeli swap offer


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas leadership in Gaza is interested in accepting Israel’s latest offer for a prisoner swap to release a captured Israeli soldier, an Arab newspaper reported.

Israel is continuing to refuse to release senior Hamas leaders in a deal that would free Gilad Shalit, the London-based Arabic A-Sharq Al-Awset reported Thursday. Among them is Marwan Barghouti, who was involved in several terrorist attacks on Israel and is considered a successor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The newspaper reported that Hamas leadership abroad and the Hamas military wing in the Gaza area are against the deal.

Shalit was abducted in a cross-border raid in June 2006 and has been held in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited a senior Egyptian mediator to Jerusalem on Sunday.

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