Report: Egypt's President Thwarted Deal to Return IDF Soldiers Killed in Gaza War

Sissi told Netanyahu to hold off on such a deal to pressure Hamas, Israel Radio reports, citing London-based paper.

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Haaretz
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi.Credit: AP
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Haaretz

Egyptian President Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi hindered a deal between Israel and Hamas that would have returned the bodies of missing Israeli soldiers from Operation Protective Edge, Israel Radio reported Sunday, citing a London-based newspaper.

According to a report in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Western diplomats said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had asked Sissi to persuade Hamas to return the bodies of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. In exchange, Israel would reportedly ease the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

In an effort to pressure Hamas, Sissi told Netanyahu to put such a proposal on the back burner, according to the report.

Hamas officials referred to future prisoner exchanges with Israel at a military parade staged Sunday to mark the group's 27th anniversary.

Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida warned, "Don't burden yourselves with thoughts of body parts and corpses, or of how and when, but we promise you we have many surprises."

He was apparently referring to the bodies of Israeli soldiers Shaul and Goldin, casualties from the summer war whose bodies Hamas claims to have.

"You arrested 450 prisoners who were released [in the prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit], and you convicted them of new charges," he continued. "And we say to you – convict all you want, but you will not determine their date of release as happened [before]."

Hamas displayed its weapons and ammunition before a crowd of thousands. Israel reportedly scrambled fighter jets after a drone was detected flying over Gaza.

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