Spokesmen for the Hamas jihadist regime in Gaza have repeatedly declared in recent days that their ransom demands for captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit will not change. Repeating past threats, they warned of more kidnappings if terrorists imprisoned in Israel are not freed.
Hamas official Mushir al-Masri, a leading Gazan member of the Palestinian Authority government, told a rally Monday that Shalit would not be released until all Hamas demands were met. He declared that kidnapping more IDF soldiers was one of many options available to exert greater pressure on the Jewish State.
This echoed a threat issued late last month by Ra'ed al-Attar, a senior Hamas terrorist in Gaza, that "if Israel does not accept the demands to free 1,450 prisoners for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, [Hamas'] al-Qassam [Brigades] would kidnap more soldiers." Quoted in the Gaza-based Palestine Today, Attar said, "The Hamas movement is not intending to make any concessions concerning its demands to finalize the prisoners exchange deal, and if this soldier (Shalit) is not enough, we will kidnap more."
Another Hamas representative in Gaza, Osama al-Muzini, said this past weekend that his organization would not drop any of its demands. The list of imprisoned terrorists includes members of various PA factions, he added, "and removing any name would be at the expense of one of these groups."
In an interview with the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency over the weekend, "Abu Mujahid", a spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, said, "Shalit should be released through a swap deal that sees Israel release 1,400 Palestinian prisoners, including the 450 specified by Hamas who are the core of the deal." Hamas and its affiliates in Gaza, he said, "cannot be blackmailed by imposing a new economic siege against the Palestinians...."
No breakthroughs are expected in the coming months in efforts to free abducted Shalit, according to a Hamas source cited Monday evening by Israel's Yediot Aharonot newspaper. The source said no progress was expected due to the setting up of the new Israeli government. While contacts on the matter have not stopped, there was nothing new to report, he explained.
On July 25, 2006, then-18-year-old Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas and allied terrorists in a raid on a military base just outside Gaza. Two other soldiers were killed in the attack, which included infiltration by way of an underground tunnel. More than two-and-a-half years later, Gilad is still being held captive.