SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday there was no deal for now between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas on freeing an Israeli soldier held captive in Gaza.
Egypt has been trying to broker a deal in which Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, would Gilad Shalit in exchange for Israel freeing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. “The two sides have stopped at the details concerning the numbers and nature of people to be released … However, I can tell you that for now there is no deal,” Abbas told reporters after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Talks on a swap hit an obstacle in late November, a source close to the discussions said, after Israel refused to free several prisoners at the top of Hamas’s list whom Israel accuses of making bombs for attacks that killed dozens of Israelis.
Days before, Israel and Hamas had come close to a deal when officials said Israel had dropped objections to freeing 160 prisoners whose freedom was sought by Hamas.