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Analysts say Mubarak remarks may confirm 23 June swap report

Aug. 19, 2009 8:35 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 21, 2009 1:00 P.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Informed sources predicting an imminent prisoner swap on 23 June may not have been far off, analysts said following a PBS interview with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak which aired Monday.

In his interview, Mubarak revealed a deal with Israel for the return of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit had been imminent, but last minute Israeli wrangling stymied the plan, which would have seen Shalit transferred to Cairo in advance of the release of the first of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Analysts say Mubarak’s comments over the captured Israeli, “Shalit. You know that he's our prisoner,” may confirm Ma’an reports published on 23 June saying a swap would occur within the week, if not within hours.

Egyptian leader seemed to confirm the report when he noted, "we were just about to secure his release in our custody and solve this problem, but external interventions, outside interventions hindered that. But we are working on that and in collaboration and cooperation with the Germans."

At the time Ma’an quoted anonymous sources saying chairman of the Egyptian security delegation General Muhammad Ibrahim would arrive in Tel Aviv on the 23rd to discuss the necessary arrangements for the exchange of Shalit after delivering him to Egypt.

Following the publication of the report Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded personally from a meeting in Rome, saying he had never heard reports around an impending swap, and denied any agents were working to secure the release of the soldier on his behalf.

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