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Hamas threatens to kidnap more Israeli soldiers

The Islamic Hamas movement has threatened to kidnap more Israeli soldiers if Tel Aviv does not respond to its call to free Palestinian prisoners.

world Updated: Mar 29, 2009 08:09 IST
Xinhua

The Islamic Hamas movement has threatened to kidnap more Israeli soldiers if Tel Aviv does not respond to its call to free Palestinian prisoners.

The Al-Qassam Brigade, armed wing of the Hamas movement, made the announcement on Saturday.

Ra'ed al-Attar of the movement told reporters that "if Israel does not accept the demands to free 1,450 prisoners for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, al-Qassam would kidnap more soldiers."

Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip in 2006. Hamas said it will free the Israeli soldier when Israel releases 1,450 Palestinian prisoners from its custody.

"Hamas movement is not intending to make any concessions concerning its demands to finalise the prisoner-exchange deal, and if this soldier (Shalit) is not enough, we would kidnap more," al-Attar said.

The senior militant leader said his movement took responsibility for releasing all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. "We won't be comfortable until all those prisoners are freed," he said.

A senior Hamas leader in Gaza earlier said that a prisoner-exchange deal with Israel to free Shalit for Palestinian prisoners "would be finalised sooner or later".

"If the deal is not finalised within this week, it will be finalised later," said Fathi Hamad, a Hamas lawmaker in Gaza, adding that the movement hasn't changed or modified its demands to free the Palestinian prisoners.

Meanwhile, Egypt is mediating talks between Hamas and Israel on the prisoner-swap deal.