Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Government Discusses Hamas Demands in Gilad Shalit Release Case


Prime Minister’s Media Adviser,
IDF & Security Services

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert convened a security discussion Tuesday evening regarding the list of prisoners that has been delivered to Israel in the context of the Egyptian efforts to aid in the release of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit (

Defense Minister Amir Peretz, ISA Director Yuval Diskin, Mossad Director Meir Dagan, Special Coordinator on the Release of the Abducted Soldiers Ofer Dekel and other senior officials participated in the discussion.

Disappointment and reservations were expressed over the list of prisoners whose release Hamas is seeking. Israel will continue contacts with Egypt on the issue.

As has been made clear in recent days, Olmert emphasized that while there has been some progress in the negotiations they are far from being completed. The various reports that appear in this context must be treated with due caution in order to prevent the creation of false hopes.

"Our hearts are with the Shalit family, which has been steadfast in recent months especially in the face of recent reports on this issue, which certainly do not lessen its continued suffering," said the statement.

Prime Minister Olmert has imposed a blackout on further details of the evening's discussion.

Gilad Shalit (20) was born on August 28, 1986. He is the son of Aviva and Noam Shalit and the brother of Yoel (23) and Hadas (16).

Gilad was born in Nahariya but was raised from the age of two in Mitzpe Hila in the western Galilee. He graduated with distinction from the science class of Manor Kabri High School. Gilad loves math and sports. He has enjoyed playing basketball ever since he was a child, but is interested in sports in general. He follows the different leagues and tournaments all over the world, from tennis and basketball to cycling and athletics. If you wish to know the results of a tournament somewhere in the world - it’s Gilad you should ask.

Gilad is a well-mannered, quiet and introverted young man. An almost permanent shy and hesitant smile light up his face. Gilad is always volunteering to help everyone.

Gilad began his military service about a year before his abduction - at the end of July 2005.

Despite a low medical profile, he preferred to serve in a combat unit, followed his elder brother Yoel into the armored corps. After successfully ended his training, Gilad was guarding and ensuring the security of the settlements around Gaza when he was abducted by terrorists.

Since the attack at Kerem Shalom, Gilad has been held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terrorist organization.

At 05:40 on the morning of Sunday, 25 June 2006, terrorists from the Hamas and Popular Resistance Committees terror organizations infiltrated into Israel through a tunnel originating from the Rafah area in the Gaza Strip, passing under the security fence to the area between the Kerem Shalom and Sufa crossings. The terrorists, operating under cover of mortar and anti-tank fire from within the Gaza Strip, attacked attacked an armored personnel carrier, an IDF tank and a watchtower.

IDF forces returned fire, killing at least two terrorists.

In the course of the infiltration and attack, an IDF officer and a soldier were killed, and a soldier was abducted. Four additional soldiers were wounded.

The soldiers killed were identified as Lt. Hanan Barak, 20, of Arad and Staff-Sgt. Pavel Slutzker, 20, of Dimona. Cpl. Gilad Shalit was first concidered missing in action before his abduction by Hamas was confirmed.

This attack was carried out and spearheaded by senior members of the Hamas and authorized by the party's leadership.

The IDF and the Government of Israel hold the Palestinian Authority and the democratically elected Hamas government responsible for the attack and the fate of Gilad.

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The next day, June 26, IDF forces detonated the tunnel which was used during the terrorist infiltration into the Kerem Shalom area. IDF forces uncovered the opening of the tunnel inside a Palestinian house located about 350 meters from the fence. The length of the tunnel was about 650 meters.

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