Shalit Family to Red Cross: Verify Hamas Claims on Gilad's Health

Family asks supporters of abducted IDF soldier to delay protest in front of Red Cross offices in Tel Aviv.

The family of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit contacted the International Committee of the Red Cross on Tuesday to request that the organization confirm Hamas is treating Gilad in line with the Geneva Conventions, and that his health and dignity are being maintained.

"The family is attempting to find out whether Hamas' statements about their son are valid, and they have asked the Red Cross to verify if they have been telling the truth," said a family friend.

"We don't know if this contact could lead to anything concrete, but it is a long way ahead between these steps and an actual meeting," the added.

In lieu of the new contact with the Red Cross, the Shalit family has requested from campaigners to free the captured soldier to delay a demonstration they had planned for next week in front of the Red Cross offices in Tel Aviv.

The Shalit supporters granted their request.

Earlier Tuesday, some 70 campaigners gathered at the entrance gate to Hadarim prison in an attempt to prevent mothers of Palestinian inmates visiting their sons.

Angry altercations broke out between several visitors and activists, who urged the inmates' relatives to pressure Hamas for a prisoner swap deal with the Israeli government.

Some mothers voiced support for the campaign, however.

"We want our sons to be released and the prisoner Gilad Shalit to be set free and returned home," one said.

"we want all the prisoners to be free, just like the family wants the soldier [Gilad Shalit] to be returned to his home, we also want every son to be released home," another activist said.

The campaigners are also expected to gather in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's house in Caesarea on Friday for the Sabbath, and they said that they intend to maintain their actions over the next few weeks.

Shalit's family is not taking part in the events but are said to have given their approval.