Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh claimed he made progress in a deal to swap terrorists for Israeli hostages, but called for Hamas to kidnap more Israeli soldiers as “loot.”
By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel
The head of the Hamas terror group called on his organization to kidnap more Israeli soldiers as “loot” to use as bargaining chips, the Lebanese Al Manar website reported.
Speaking about a potential prisoner swap with Israel, Ismail Haniyeh hinted that the capture of more Israeli soldiers would be a good thing, the news website affiliated with the Hezbollah terror organization said.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera Haniyeh stressed that Hamas “will not be quiet” about Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
Israel holds several thousand convicted terrorists, many of whom are from Hamas and are responsible for some of the worst terror attacks against the Jewish state.
German and Egyptian diplomats are negotiating with Hamas for the release of Israeli civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed and the bodies of IDF soldiers Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul.
Goldin and Shaul were killed in the 2014 conflict sparked by the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas members. Both Mengistu and al-Sayed had known mental health issues when they walked into Gaza and were taken hostage by Hamas, Mengistu in 2014 and al-Sayed in 2015.
“We can increase our loot, our hand is strong,” Haniyeh said. “Our price has been made known…the occupation must know that we will only agree to a respectable deal that includes all the Shalit deal prisoners.”
Hamas wants to exchange the civilian hostages and the bodies of the IDF soldiers for hundreds of convicted terrorists held in Israeli prisons, trying to duplicate its success in getting 1,027 terrorists in the 2011 deal for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Several released Hamas terrorists were arrested again after they broke the deal and returned to terror, and Hamas wants them released as well.
Many Israelis, such as Ron Kehrmann of Haifa, whose daughter Tal, 17, was murdered in a 2003 Hamas suicide bombing that killed 17 people, staunchly opposes the release of terrorists in such deals.
“Since 2011 – the previous surrender – 10 Israelis have been murdered by the same released terrorists, and dozens of Israelis have been injured,” he said, adding that the move simply allowed convicted terrorists to rejoin their organizations to carry out future attacks.
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