A special Israeli envoy gave Egypt last week a list of Hamas prisoners Israel is prepared to release in an exchange for abducted Israel Defense Forces Cpl. Gilad Shalit, the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat reported.
An Egyptian official told the newspaper that Ofer Dekel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s coordinator responsible for the return of missing or kidnapped IDF soldiers, gave the Egyptian mediators the list during a visit to Cairo aimed at speeding up negotiations for Shalit’s release.
Shalit was abducted by Gaza militants in a June 2006 cross border raid.
Hamas rejects the current Israeli list as it does not include members of the Popular Resistance Committees, a militant group that also participated in Shalit’s kidnapping, the Egyptian official said.
The source said Dekel, a former deputy head of the Shin Bet security service, suggested the Egyptian security team handling negotiations return to the Gaza Strip, or that Egypt itself host talks on a prisoner deal.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s intelligence chief Omar Suleiman told a Meretz party delegation Sunday night that efforts with Hamas to reach an agreement on the issue are continuing.
Dekel alsoÂ met recently at Hadarim prison, located near Netanya, with senior Hamas militants whose release the group is demanding as part of a deal for Shalit, Haaretz reported last week.