Israel, Hamas Deny Deal on Release of Israelis From Gaza

YERUSHALAYIM -
hadar goldin
Israelis protest in demand of retrieving the missing bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul from Hamas captivity, outside the Prime Minister’s residence in Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Both Israel and Hamas have denied reports that a deal that would see Israel release hundreds of Hamas terrorists in exchange for Israelis being held by the terror group is imminent. The weekend report on the Haleej news site, based in the Gulf states, said that German and Egyptian mediators had worked out a deal that would have Hamas release the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, as well as the release of Israeli Avram Mengistu.

In exchange, Israel will release terrorists it has arrested over the past several years who were released in the original exchange for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. In exchange for the soldier, Israel released over 1,000 terrorists, but in recent years has re-arrested several hundred on charges that they returned to carrying out terror attacks, after agreeing not to carry out such attacks as a condition of their release.

Hamas is reportedly drawing up a list of names of terrorists it wants released. The Egyptian sources involved in the deal said that it could be wrapped up in the coming days, if Israel does not balk at the names on the Hamas list. The sources added that the deal will help to maintain quiet in the border fence area.

A senior Israeli official told Hadashot News that Israel rejected the report. A Hamas source also denied that a deal was pending, saying that “there is nothing new in the exchange issue.”