Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk Dec. 29, 2008 (AP)
Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk Photo by AP
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Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk believes that internal pressure in Israel and changes in the composition of the Israeli negotiating team will lead to positive movement toward reaching a prisoner exchange deal that will include the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

In an interview with the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, Abu Marzouk, the deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, said that Islamic movement is interested in completing a prisoner exchange agreement but emphasized that Hamas' position on the terms of a deal have not changed.

According to the Al-Hayat report, the head of Hamas' military wing Ahmed al-Jabari left Cairo on Monday and returned to the Gaza Strip after a visit during which he met with Abu Marzouk and Egyptian intelligence officials responsible for mediating the Shalit deal.

The report included no details about a breakthrough or progress toward a deal. It was reported, however, that Egyptian mediators asked to hear from Hamas leaders the organization's final position on the terms of a deal.

Also Wednesday, the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency reported that telecommunications (internet, mobile phones and international landlines) were cut off in the Gaza Strip for a number of hours late Tuesday.