Gilad Shalit’s abductors announced that they will not kill him, but said they will no longer transmit information on the soldier’s condition.
After Israel rejected the ultimatum to release Palestinian prisoners by its deadline of today at 6 a.m., the Islamic Army spokesman, Abu Muthana, said it is against Islam to kill Shalit, but failed to say whether Shalit was dead or alive.
“We will not kill the soldier since the principles of Islam command us to treat prisoners with respect," he said on Tuesday.
Israel is continuing diplomatic efforts, pressing Syria and the Hamas political bureau chief to release the soldier.
On a visit to Saudi Arabia, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called on the Saudi Kingdom to influence Syrian President Bashar Assad in the soldier’s release. Until now, efforts have been unfruitful.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is desperate and perplexed. He said his efforts have not brought about a change. Abbas warned that an additional Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip would cause a crisis in the Palestinian Authority.
According to reports in the London based Arabic paper, Al-Hayat, the soldier would be returned via Egypt by French mediators in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Also, if Israel ceased its operations in Gaza, Palestinians would stop rocket attacks against Israel.
“If, God forbid, they should hurt the soldier, our operations will be far worse,” Justice Minister Haim Ramon told Israel’s Channel 2.
Israeli forces continued military operations in northern Gaza with a goal of exposing tunnels used by terrorists to infiltrate into Israel. The operation also intended to prevent Kassam rockets from being launched into Israeli territory.