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Israeli soldier's release "imminent": Abbas

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Israeli soldier's release "imminent": Abbas

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has held out the prospect that an abducted Israeli soldier could soon be released. “I told the prime minister that efforts are undergoing continuously that lead us to believe that a solution will be imminent,” he told reporters.

The seizure of Gihad Shalit by a Palestinian commando last month triggered a series of Israeli raids that culminated in the current miliary offensive. However the armed wing of the ruling Hamas party denied that a release was imminent.

A spokesman said that “nothing has changed” in the soldier’s situation. Abbas said he hoped the Israeli soldier was in good health and would soon be able to return to his family.

But he added that he hoped that the 10,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel would receive the same interest.