The father of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit on Wednesday dismissed outgoing Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin's apology for failing to secure his son's release as "too little, too late".
Diskin told reporters in Tel Aviv that he considers himself responsible for the failure to gather intelligence over the whereabouts of Shalit, who has been in Palestinian captivity since he was seized in a cross-border raid in 2006.
"I do not share my responsibility with anyone else for the Shalit affair," he declared. "I did not manage to bring Gilad home and to facilitate his return. I see this as my obligation and as my responsibility. As the head of the Shin Bet, I am saddened."
"The Shin Bet took the reigns on this issue when nobody else wanted to," Diskin said. We set up a team that began working on the day of the kidnapping and we invested a sea of effort and resources in the matter. When push came to shove, we failed. Period. This is my responsibility."
The soldier's father, Noam, said he and his family were "sorry that those responsible for the oversights and failure made during the abduction and until now did not take responsibility, through actions rather than words."
"The Shin Bet chief's words are too little, too late," said Shalit. "In a Hamas basmenet, Gilad has been left to carry the price of these failures for five years."
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said earlier Wednesday to a signing ceremony of reconciliation with the rival Palestinian faction Fatah that he hoped to see Palestinians imprisoned in Israel released as soon as possible. Israel has been negotiating with Hamas via a foreign mediator for a prisoner swap deal that would secure Shalit's release, but no real signs of progress have yet been made.
The Al-Hayat newspaper reported last week that Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas' military wing, met recently with Egypt's new intelligence chief to hash out a plan to advance the prisoner exchange.
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