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Israel considering prisoner list for exchange deal

Israel considering prisoner list for exchange deal
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Islamist group Hamas has handed over a list of Palestinian prisoners it wants freed in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Corporal Shalit was siezed in June last year by militants who tunnelled into Israel from Gaza.

Analysts believe his release would be a key to progress in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti said the ball is now in the Israeli court:

“If the Israelis want Shalit to come back safely and quickly, they have to immediately respond to the Palestinian offer and accept the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit so that the process can go on very quickly.”

Israeli media say the list contains the names of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

It is thought Fatah’s Marwan Barghouti – widely seen as President Abbas’s successor – could be among them.

An Israeli minister has warned against false hope.

The government has refused to trade prisoners it says have Israeli blood on their hands.

There has been an incident, meanwhile, in the West Bank city of Hebron at the Tomb of the Patriarchs – a scene of violence in the past.

Two Israeli border policemen were injured when a Palestinian teenager knifed them at an inspection point outside the shrine.

Another Israeli officer then shot the teenager in the leg. The attacker was taken to hospital and faces questioning.

The motive for the stabbing was not clear.

The shrine was already the scene of tragedy 13 years ago when a Jewish settler shot and killed 29 Muslim worshippers before being beaten to death.

The site is sacred to Muslims and Jews alike.