Hamas affirms readiness for prisoner swap with Israel
Gaza-based group seeks release of elderly, ill, women, minor prisoners held by Israel
GAZA CITY, Palestine
The Palestinian Hamas group on Tuesday said it would "deal responsibly" with any "real response" to its prisoner swap initiative with Israel.
"We will deal responsibly with any real response for the initiative of the movement’s leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Al-Sinwar, regarding [Israeli] soldiers captured by al-Qassam Brigades, to release a number of [Palestinian] elderly, women, ill and children prisoners," the group's spokesman Hazem Qassim said on Twitter.
Last Thursday, Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, said the group was willing to initiate a prisoner swap with Israel.
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for "immediate dialogue through mediators," on missing Israelis in Gaza.
This is the first time that Israel expressed willingness for talks on four Israelis missing since the 2014 Gaza war.
In April 2016, Hamas announced for the first time that it had taken four Israeli soldiers captive while withholding their identities except for Oron Shaul, an Israeli soldier missing since the 2014 war.
Hamas has insisted that Israel should release Palestinian prisoners re-arrested shortly after they were released during a prisoner exchange in 2011.
At the end of the 2014 conflict, the Israeli government announced the loss of the "bodies" of two soldiers in the Gaza Strip, namely Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin.
However, in June 2016, the Israeli Ministry of Security changed their classification as "missing and captive."
* Writing by Mahmoud BarakatAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.