“We are prepared to make partial concessions in regards to our captives,” Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said.
By Josh Plank, World Israel News
Hamas says it’s prepared to release information on four Israelis held in Gaza if Israel releases 250 terrorists from prison, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reports.
The four Israelis are Sgt. Oren Shaul, Lt. Hadar Goldin, Avera (Avraham) Mengistu, and Hisham al-Sayed.
Shaul and Goldin are believed to have been killed during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, and their bodies have since been held by Hamas.
Mengistu, who suffers from mental illness, entered Gaza in September 2014 and was captured by Hamas.
Hisham al-Sayed, an Israeli Arab who also suffers from mental illness, was captured by Hamas after entering Gaza in 2015.
Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas in Gaza, signaled on April 3 that Hamas may be willing to negotiate with regard to the soldiers’ bodies and the civilian captives.
“We are prepared to make partial concessions in regards to our captives for an Israeli release of elder prisoners, the ill, and female prisoners, as a humanitarian gesture due to the coronavirus crisis,” he said.
Israel issued a statement on April 7 that “chief negotiator for the release of prisoners Yaron Blum and his team, in coordination with the National Security Council and the defense establishment, are prepared in a constructive way to return the bodies and missing and to end this problem and call for immediate dialogue by means of mediators.”
Al-Akhbar also reported that a German mediator who had a role in the 2011 Shalit deal is again participating in the negotiations.
In 2011, Israel released 1,027 terrorists, including convicted murderer Yahya Sinwar, in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who had been held by Hamas since 2006.
Similar to the present negotiations, Israel had first released 20 female prisoners in exchange for video footage of Shalit in 2009.
Hamas stressed that despite their willingness to release information on Shaul, Goldin, Mengistu, and al-Sayed, there will be no talk of releasing the captives until Israel first releases the 55 prisoners that were freed in the Shalit deal and then rearrested over further violations.