Hamas: Video will prove Gilad Shalit alive and well
Israel says 20 women to be counted towards prisoners released in a future deal for Shalit.
A senior Hamas official said on Wednesday that a video to be released Friday will prove that abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit is alive and well.
Musa Abu-Marzouk said that the video, to be given to Israel in exchange for the release of 20 female Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, will also include proof that it was filmed recently.
Earlier Wednesday, a spokesperson for the military wing of Hamas, Abu Obeida, said that the deal to release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for proof of life of Shalit shows progress has been reached toward a wider prisoner exchange.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended Haggai Hadas, who heads the negotiating team, and his staff for their professional work, far from the public eye. "It is important that the entire world know that Gilad Shalit is alive and well and that Hamas is responsible for his well-being and fate," Netanyahu said.
The Prime Minister's office has stated that if a larger prisoner release is secured for the release of Gilad Shalit, the twenty women released this week will count towards the total number of detainees released.
Of the 20 female Palestinian prisoners to be released by Israel, Hamas has stated that four are members of Hamas, five belong to the rival Fatah faction, and three are members of Islamic Jihad. Only one of the prisoners is a resident of the Gaza Strip, the rest are from the West Bank.
The prisoners had all served at least two thirds of their sentences and none had more than two years left to serve.
Last week, Egypt's foreign minister urged Israel to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit.
Egypt has been mediating a prisoner swap and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Israel needs to show flexibility.