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Hamas official rejects visits for Shalit

June 11, 2010 5:18 P.M. (Updated: June 13, 2010 9:05 A.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma'an - There will be no Red Cross visits for an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian factions in 2006, undersecretary of Hamas' politburo Musa Abu Marzuq told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper on Friday.

The announcement followed calls from Israeli officials for visits to captured Israel soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for an easing of the crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip, which was intensified following his capture.

"Because Gaza is under occupation, and under constant Israeli, ground, sea and air space control, we know all movements [of any Red Cross team] in Gaza would be monitored, and we do not want him [Shalit] to be killed," Abu Marzuq told the newspaper, accusing Israel of intending to carry out its so-called Hannibal maneuver, in which soldiers are killed to ensure that no ransom is demanded.

"If Israel knew his whereabouts, there is no question that they would shell the hideout," the Hamas official said, affirming that Shalit was being treated well, and that the move was out of concern for his safety and for the lives of those living in the area.

For Hamas, Abu Marzuq said, "the Shalit issue is only connected to the issue of the Palestinian prisoners," and not with continued resistance, talks with Israel over a ceasefire, or issues around the Gaza blockade.
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