Red Cross Senior Meets Hamas Boss on Israeli Captives

Red Cross Senior Meets Hamas Boss on Israeli Captives”

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, and Hamas chief Yehiyeh Sinwar and other senior officials met on Tuesday for a discussion of the fate of the captives and other issues, according to media reports.

A Hamas source quoted by the AP said that Sinwar told the Red Cross that Hamas will not release any information about the missing civilians until Israel frees 54 Palestinian prisoners who were re-arrested after being freed in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner swap.

Oron Shaul, Hadar Goldin and Avraham Mengistu.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: "We can not remake the mistake [made] in the Shalit deal", referring to the prisoner exchange deal Israel made with Hamas in 2011. It is those several dozen prisoners that Hamas wants set free before it will begin to negotiate the further release of several thousand more Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Yehiyeh Sinwar (R) a top Hamas official, shakes hands with Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), during their meeting at Sinwar's office in Gaza City, Tuesday.

Ma'an did not say how Sinwar responded to Maurer's request.

Liberman's comments drew the ire of the families of those held, who accuse him of not doing enough.

"Only last month, 5 Palestinian children lost their lives due to lack of medicines caused by the Israeli blockade on Gaza".

In June, Liberman slammed global human rights groups, saying they have not even attempted to contact the Hamas-held captives.

"He's going to discuss various concerns of the Red Cross, and the missing [persons] is one of the issues that we, very closely, follow", the spokeswoman said, adding that the main goal of the Gaza trip is to witness the humanitarian situation there three years since his last visit.

Maurer will also meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday, followed by a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday. It appears that Israel is planning to decline Hamas' prerequisite demands.

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