Hamas: Israel rejected all offers for prisoner exchange deal
(AP Photo/Suhaib Salem, Pool)
In a statement published on Thursday, Hamas said that Israel rejected all of its offers to swap prisoners.
“We have tried to make progress and achieve another prisoner exchange deal, but all of our efforts have been rejected by the Israeli occupation and its leadership is not ready to conclude a deal,” Hamas tweeted in English on Thursday.
Hamas is believed to be holding captive at least two Israelis, Avraham (Avera) Mengistu and Hisham Al-Sayeed, who entered Hamas-controlled Gaza during periods of poor mental health. A third Israeli, Jumma Abu Ghanima, has not been heard from since he was spotted entering the blockaded enclave in July 2016.
The Islamist group is also holding the bodies of two Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were killed during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.
Hamas statement on the prisoner swap comes a day after its leader, Yahya Sinwar, confirmed on Wednesday that his group has agreed to a request by Egypt to stop the violence in Gaza from sliding into a full-blown military conflagration with Israel.
Israel and the US have both blamed Hamas for the killing of 60 Palestinians by Israeli fire on Monday, after seven previous weeks of demonstrations along the Gaza border in which dozens more died.
Sinwar, who is the Islamist militant group's leader in Gaza, told Al Jazeera that Hamas "has assured our Egyptian brothers" that there will not be "a military confrontation with Israel."
He also told the pan-Arab network that Hamas has promised Egyptian intelligence that future marches will be peaceful and demilitarized.
Sinwar, who was convicted of masterminding a terror attack in Israel in the 1980s and later released, also claimed in the interview that Israel had scuppered prisoner-swap negotiations with Hamas.
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should be bombing them until they unconditionally surrender all Israeli captives!