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Islamic Jihad fighters in Gaza training to capture Israeli soldiers

Aug. 26, 2008 1:30 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 26, 2008 1:30 P.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, is training its fighters in military techniques including the abduction of Israeli soldiers, spokesperson Abu Hamzah said on Tuesday.

The group's fighters "are taking advantage of the current ceasefire in the Gaza Strip to carry out serious military training," said Abu Hamzah.

"Our fighters are readying to resist occupation, conducting military training and live maneuvers across the Gaza Strip," he added.

The group is preparing to abduct more Israeli soldiers from military bases near Gaza, he said.

"Al-Quds Brigades plan to abduct Israeli soldiers because we are certain that the only way to get Palestinian prisoners freed from Israeli jails is prisoners swap deals," Abu Hamzah explained.

Abu Hamzah said that the strategy of abduction would be successful even though Israel as not yet agreed to a prisoner exchange for captive soldier Gilad Shalit after more than two years. According to the fighters' spokesman, "external actors" are to blame for the lack of a prisoner deal.

Shalit was seized by Palestinian fighters during a cross-border raid in 2006.
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