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      Hamas Hints at More Kidnappings to Force Shalit Deal

      A Hamas-run newspaper hints in a report that PA-based terror groups may kidnap more Israeli soldiers to pressure Israel to release terrorists.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 7/4/2011, 3:52 AM / Last Update: 7/4/2011, 4:12 AM

      Flash 90

      The Hamas-run Al-Risala newspaper reported on its website on Sunday that Palestinian Authority-based terrorist groups may carry out another operation like the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

      Abu Ataya, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the three terrorist organizations which joined together to kidnap Shalit in June 2006, was quoted by the newspaper as saying the PA terror organizations have the ability to carry out a similar operation if they wish.

      “Shalit’s kidnapping was not the first nor will it be the last,” he said. “We will return the ball to our court when and where it will be appropriate, and in a way which will surprise everyone and especially the occupation.”

      Meanwhile, a PA Arab commentator who is considered an expert on Israel, Hatem Abu Zaida, told Al-Risala that he believes the terror organizations will try to kidnap Israeli soldiers using other methods which Israel does not expect. He added that Israel would in the end be forced accept the terms of the kidnappers and release terrorist prisoners.

      Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, refused to directly address his organization’s future course of action regarding the kidnapping of soldiers, noting that “we will not provide the enemy with free information.”

      At the conclusion of the article, its author expressed hope that there will soon be another kidnapping of soldiers.

      The article comes after last week, an official with the Palestinian Authority defended Hamas, saying it was not Hamas terrorists who kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

      The PA’s representative in Belgium, Leila Shahid, said during a joint meeting with Israeli representatives that it was a terror organization other than Hamas who kidnapped Shalit and transferred him to Hamas.

      Shalit, meanwhile, continues to be held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza and has not been allowed visits by the International Red Cross for the entire five years which have passed since his kidnapping. The organization recently called on Hamas to prove that Shalit is still alive.

      Earlier on Sunday, parents who have lost children to terrorist attacks called for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to release the names of terrorists that Israel would agree to release in exchange for Gilad Shalit.

      The demands were made following reports that Netanyahu has agreed to a proposal by a German mediator regarding Shalit’s release.