Hamas Vows to Try to Kidnap More IDF Soldiers

Haaretz Service
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Haaretz Service

Hamas, the militant Islamic organization that currently holds IDF soldier Gilad Shalit captive in the Gaza Strip, vowed Friday to try to kidnap additional Israeli soldiers.

"We will continue our efforts to kidnap soldiers in order to free every one of our prisoners in Israel," Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said in Damascus.

Meshal, whose statements came during a speech in Damascus, added "I say to [Israel Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and to the leaders of the enemy, we understand the language that you understand...We in Hamas managed to take Shalit captive and hold him for more than three years and use him as in order to mount comprehensive negotiations for the release of prisoners."

Meshal then warned, "We can take another Shalit captive, and another Shalit, and another Shalit."

Meshal's statements came hours after Israel received a video of Shalit from Hamas in exchange for 20 Palestinian female prisoners held in Israel jails. The video was the first image of Sahlit seen in Israel since he was taken captive by Hamas in a cross-border raid in June 2006.

Haniyeh: Shalit video deal a triumph for the resistanceHamas Gaza chief Ismail Haniyeh said on Friday that a deal exchanging Palestinian prisoners for the Gilad Shalit videotape was a 'triumph' of the armed resistance against Israel.

Speaking in front of an assembled Gaza crowd, the Hamas strongmen congratulated the families of the female prisoners released earlier Friday, saying Hamas would not rest until all the Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel would be released.

"This is a day of great hope. We welcome our incarcerated sisters on this blessed day in a deal between the Israeli enemy and the victorious Hamas battalions," Haniyeh said.

"This is an amazing accomplishment to the Palestinians who captured Shalit," he added, saying it was "a great triumph to the resistance."

Speaking to the Palestinian prisoners still jailed in Israel, the Hamas Gaza chief said that the Palestinian were a people "who does not forget its prisoners and my government will not give up on your freedom," adding that "the armed forces will not give up on your honor."

Earlier Friday, Israel Radio had reported that the militant organization was planning to hold a victory parade, urging Palestinians to take to the streets to celebrate the release of Palestinian prisoners exchanged with Israel for a videotape of Shalit.

In addition, Channel 10 reported that Hamas activists had said they were barred by Palestinian security forces from participating in celebrations taking place in the Fatah-controlled West Bank.

Israel ordered the release of 19 Palestinian woman prisoners earlier Friday after it had verified that the video of Shalit it received earlier had indeed met its demands.

Members of the Israeli negotiating team for Shalit's release viewed the footage to ensure it met Israel's demands - primarily with regard to how recently it was filmed. Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has also viewed the video.

As soon as it was determined that the tape did indeed meet requirements, the Palestinian prisoners were transferred to Red Cross vehicles which finalized their release by transporting them over the border with the West Bank.