Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, revealed that Hamas held secret negotiations with Israel on an exchange deal that would have resulted in the release of Palestinian Arab terrorists being held in Israeli prisons.
In a speech he gave at the main event to mark the 35th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, Sinwar said that Hamas demanded that Israel release those terrorists who were freed in the Shalit deal and subsequently re-arrested, as well as female prisoners, minors and the sick, headed by Nasr Abu Hameed Walid a-Daqa, veteran prisoners, as well as return the bodies of terrorists held in Israel.
In return, Sinwar said, Hamas was willing to return Avera Mengistu and Hashem al-Sayed, who crossed the border into the Gaza Strip in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Sinwar threatened Israel, saying, "We are giving Israel a limited extension to complete the deal, and if not, we will close the issue of the four Israeli soldiers forever, and we will find another way to release our prisoners."
Turning directly to the Netanyahu government that is being formed, Sinwar said, "Our message to the leaders of the fascist occupation: We are not afraid of you. We are not afraid of your threats. Our people and our resistance organizations have experienced more formidable forces than you. We have overthrown your governments, and we are capable of overthrowing any of your governments. You will never succeed against our people and our resistance organizations."