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Two Israeli Cabinet ministers sparred over the amount of intelligence available on abducted soldier Gilad Shalit.

Ami Ayalon, a former Shin Bet spymaster and currently a minister without portfolio, told Israel’s Channel 2 television Saturday that “there simply isn’t enough intelligence” on Shalit to consider mounting a rescue operation. Shalit was abducted to the Gaza Strip in a June 2006 raid by Hamas-led gunmen.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak rebuffed Ayalon at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, according to Israel Radio, saying “You shouldn’t have talked that way.

“There is no intelligence failure,” Barak added. “True, there is not enough intelligence in order to bring Shalit home, but we are pursuing determined action for his return.”

Sources close to Ayalon, who lost to Barak in the recent Labor Party leadership elections, said he spoke out in order to keep Shalit’s ordeal in the public’s consciousness.

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