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News Brief


Ehud Olmert flew to Egypt to press for progress in efforts to retrieve captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The Israeli prime minister arrived in the Red Sea resort of Sharm e-Sheik on Tuesday for talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose government brokered last week’s Gaza Strip truce.

Mubarak told reporters at the opening of the meeting that Egypt was “making efforts in the case of Gilad Shalit.”

Olmert’s aides said the prime minister received an Egyptian pledge to keep the Rafah crossing closed until a prisoner swap deal is in place which would return Shalit, who was abducted to Gaza by Hamas-led gunmen two years ago.

Hamas and the Olmert government have been wrangling, via Cairo, over how many jailed Palestinian terrorists Israel should release as ransom for the soldier.

Egypt has voiced hope that the Gaza cease-fire will speed a prisoner swap.

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