Hamas Releases New Animated Video Featuring Gilad Shalit

Clip depicts the cross-border raid in which Shalit was abducted, with a tank shown exploding.

Hamas on Sunday released its second animated video featuring abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive by Gaza militants for four years.

The clip depicts the cross-border raid in which Shalit was abducted, with a tank shown exploding and transforming into a hand that grasps an Israeli soldier. It ends with a sentence in Arabic reading "The illusion is shattering" and the date of Shalit's abduction.

The release of the clip coincided with a protest march to Jerusalem that got underway on Sunday by the Shalit family and thousands of supporters, in an effort to pressure the government into advancing a prisoner swap to free Shalit.

Hamas has refused requests by the Red Cross and by Human Rights Watch to visit the captive soldier, saying that to do so could reveal to Israel where he was being held.

"The laws of war prohibit cruel and inhuman treatment of persons in custody. They also require a party to a conflict to permit persons deprived of their liberty to correspond with their families and not to refuse arbitrarily a request by the ICRC to visit detainees," an HRW statement said.

Hamas is demanding the release of hundreds of Palestinians in return for Shalit. Attempts to organize a prisoner swap, conducted through Egyptian, and then German, mediation, have so far failed.

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud a-Zahar told Israel Radio on Friday morning that his organization cut ties six months ago with the German official mediating the swap, and have not renewed the contacts since.
He said the mediator would return to the region when there was a new exchange proposal on the table.

Hamas released a previous animated clip showing Noam Shalit wandering the streets of Tel Aviv in a dream that ends with the arrival of Gilad in a coffin flanked with an Israeli flag. The cartoon ended with a Hebrew caption reading "There is still hope."