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7581Hamas: Captured Israeli Soldier Alive

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  • World View
    Jun 28, 2007
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      Shalit was captured several hundred metres from the border

      Hamas airs 'first Shalit message'
      Monday, 25 June 2007

      Shalit 'message'
      The Palestinian captors of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit have broadcast
      what they say is his first audio message since his capture a year ago.
      The voice on the tape says his health is worsening and he needs
      medical help.

      The recording was put on a website of the military wing of Hamas. Cpl
      Shalit was seized near the Gaza border in a joint raid by three
      militant groups.

      Hamas has demanded the release of prisoners from Israeli jails, but
      Israel ruled out any negotiations.

      Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Hamas was making "cynical use of the
      suffering of Gilad Shalit".

      She was speaking as leaders from Israel, Egypt and Jordan met in the
      Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, in an apparent show of support for
      Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

      Mr Abbas is engaged in a bitter power struggle with Hamas militants,
      who have taken over the Gaza Strip.

      'Good health'

      In the message, posted on a website supporting the Ezzedine al-Qassam
      Brigades, the man purported to be Cpl Shalit is heard speaking Hebrew.

      [Israel] should meet the demands of my kidnappers so I can be released

      Audio message attributed to Cpl Shalit

      Full text: 'Shalit's' message
      Q&A: Captured soldier

      "I've been in prison one year. My situation is deteriorating. I need
      an extended period in hospital," the voice says.

      "I am sorry that the Israeli government has not shown more interest.
      It should meet the demands of my kidnappers so I can be released."

      It was not possible to authenticate the tape, although Cpl Shalit's
      father, Noam, told Israeli media it sounded genuine.

      Israeli officials said they had no doubt that the text had been
      dictated by Hamas to the 20-year-old soldier.

      Earlier, a spokesman for the militants holding him said he was in good

      Abu Mujahid, of the Popular Resistance Committees, said Cpl Shalit was
      being treated according to Islamic law.

      Shalit's family have attended a rally marking one year of captivity

      The Hamas militants have also released what purports to be video
      footage of the raid in which Cpl Shalit was captured on 25 June 2006.

      The operation was claimed by the al-Qassam Brigades, the Popular
      Resistance Committees, and the Army of Islam, and triggered a
      large-scale Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip.

      Cpl Shalit's captors have handed over a list of prisoners they want
      freed in exchange for him.

      About 10,000 Palestinian prisoners are being held in Israeli jails,
      some without charge.

      Egypt has been trying to broker the soldier's release, but the
      negotiations have been suspended because of the unrest in the
      Palestinian territories.

      'Legitimate target'

      On Sunday, Noam Shalit criticised Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
      for not doing more to secure his son's release.

      "It's the test of a leader," said Mr Shalit. "If you do not know what
      to do, give your portfolio to someone who can bring about results

      Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has accused Cpl Shalit's captors
      of committing a war crime.

      "International humanitarian law absolutely prohibits taking and
      holding a person by force in order to compel the enemy to meet certain
      demands, while threatening to harm or kill the person if the demands
      are not met," the group said.

      "Furthermore, hostage-taking is considered a war crime."

      Abu Mujahid brushed off B'Tselem's accusation, saying the soldier was
      a prisoner of war who had been captured inside a tank used to fight

      "Any occupiers on the land are a legitimate target because they are
      soldiers," he said.



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