Hamas Top Terrorist: Deal to Release Terror Prisoners ‘Close’

Hamas terrorists at an anti-Israel rally in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafiach. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90, File)

Hamas top terrorist Khaled Mashaal said over the weekend that the terror group was in discussions with the Israeli government for the release of all terrorists from Israeli prisons. “Be calm, the key to victory is patience,” he said in recorded remarks at a rally in Gaza. “The moment of freedom is close at hand. We have some real leverage. We have made clear to all those involved that there is a price to pay for information about Israeli soldiers held by Hamas. No information is given out for free.”

Patience, stressed Mashaal, was the key to getting Israel to release terrorists. “Our prisoners suffer in the Zionist prisons, and there is no doubt that the families of the Zionists that Hamas holds suffer as well,” he said. “The key is who has more patience. We have tactical strength and psychological strength against Israel.”

Hamas is holding the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, Hy”d, as well as a live Israeli, Ebra Mengistu. The terror group has claimed in the past that a deal is imminent for the release of the remains of the Israeli soldiers, but Israel has never confirmed this. In one recent report, Hamas claimed that Israel had offered to release 60 terrorists who were captured after 2011, from among terrorists who were re-arrested after they were released in the exchange deal for Gilad Shalit. A Hamas spokesperson said at the time that the terror group had “received an offer from Israel, but it does not meet the minimal conditions that we have set.”

Over 1,000 terrorists were released to free Shalit in 2014, and several hundred have been rearrested on terror charges since then. Israel has resisted letting these terrorists go and has refused to include them in deals for the release of the remains of Shaul and Goldin.