Hamas Claims Israel Turned Down Egyptian Hostage Deal

YERUSHALAYIM -
Hamas Iran
Yehiya Sinwar, shown here during a news conference in Gaza City in May. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

A Hamas official said on Thursday night that the terrorist organization has accepted an Egyptian proposal for release of Israeli captives, according to Israel’s Channel 13.

Speaking for Hamas during an event in Gaza, Yehiyeh Sanuar said that the proposal, made about two weeks ago, has since been passed on to the Israeli government.

Sanuar claimed that the resignation of Lior Lotan, who had been in charge of negotiations for captured or slain Israelis, was precipitated by the Israel’s government’s refusal to accept the Egyptian proposal. However, he could not say if the Israeli position has changed since Lotan stepped down.

The Hamas official did not discuss the terms of the proposal. But Arab media outlets have reported that Hamas was demanding the return of 39 bodies of slain Hamas terrorists, in return for which they would give Israel information concerning the captives and the slain soldiers in its hands.

In the next stage of the deal, Israel would be expected to release terrorists who were rearrested after having been released in the deal for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Only then would Hamas enter into negotiations over the Egyptian proposal for the release of Israelis they are holding.

Israel seeks the return of missing IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, both presumed niftar, as well as Avram Mengistu, who went missing in Gaza in 2014.