Gaza militants ready to release Shalit for ceasefire

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 |  by Staff Writer  

Militant groups in Gaza, including Hamas, would accept a cease-fire deal with Israel, including releasing kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, according to the Palestinian agriculture minister, who also heads the coordinating committee of Palestinian organizations there.

Ibrahim Al-Naja said the factions were ready to stop the Kassam rocket fire if Israel ceased all military moves against the Palestinian factions in Gaza. They are also ready to release Shalit in exchange for guaranteeing the future release of Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas leaders did not confirm this report Monday, but if it is true, then this is the first time that Hamas has indicated its acceptance of the Egyptian proposal to solve the crisis. Egypt's proposal did not include an Israeli commitment to the immediate release of Palestinian prisoners, only guarantees for their future release.

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