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Israel Denies Concluding Prisoner Swap Deal with Hamas - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Tel Aviv- An Israeli government spokesman denied on Sunday a report saying that a preliminary swap deal has been reached with Gaza’s ruling party, Hamas.

The official went on saying that these rumors are being circulated by Hamas in an effort to restore the party’s deteriorating image and mitigate recent isolation it suffers with the Palestinian public.

Hamas officials have been making relentless calls in the hopes of sealing a quicker prisoner exchange deal involving Egyptian mediation and an ex-Fatah official Mohammad Dahlan, West Bank sources said.

Dahlan is a Palestinian politician and the former leader of Fatah in Gaza and Fatah retains control of the Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank.

Israel gave no direct comments on the subject. Hamas said that the alleged deal dictates it delivers detailed briefings on the well-being of Israeli prisoners it holds captive in exchange for the release of Hamas prisoners.

The Hamas prisoners were re-captured by Israeli authorities after having already being released by virtue of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap.

The Shalit prisoner exchange followed a 2011 agreement between Israel and Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis, although there was also a Ukrainian, a Jordanian and a Syrian.

Since the last war in Gaza in 2014, Hamas claims that it had captured two Israeli soldiers.

However, Israel claims that the two were killed in combat and had issued a death certificate for both in Tel Aviv.

Palestinian sources said Israel is prepared to discuss releasing about 27 of the re-captured prisoners.

Hamas hopes to strike a deal that includes the release of prisoners, extends a time of peace and improves the humanitarian situation in the sector, sources said.

Israeli security sources confirmed that there is minor progress with respect to indirect calls on retrieving the bodies of soldiers and civilians from Hamas in Gaza. However, Arab reports show that reached understandings are optimistic, but the road to final and binding agreements remains long.