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Shin Bet security service head Yuval Diskin said yesterday that care must be taken to ensure that the prisoner exchange to secure the release of Gilad Shalit is a "reasonable deal."

"There is a duty to return Shalit, but not at the price of causing the deaths of dozens of people," said Diskin at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

The Shin Bet chief said he opposed the inclusion of Marwan Barghouti, former head of the Fatah-affiliated Tanzim in the Gaza Strip, in the exchange or as a gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Diskin said that if Barghouti were to be released, it should be to Abbas and not to Hamas, and that "when the initial celebrations die down we'll make sure his real power is less than what they are trying to demonstrate."

Diskin added, "Without control of the area, we will not be able to halt the terror in the Gaza Strip... Hamas was in a very bad state before the cease-fire and Israel threw it a lifesaver."

He noted that there are rockets in Gaza with a range of 20 kilometers, which puts Kiryat Gat in their range. Diskin said there are 222 tons of explosives in the Strip that are used for booby trapping roads and buildings and opening up tunnels.