Hamas officials have met with their Egyptian counterparts to discuss security coordination and the results were “overall positive,” a top Hamas official told Breitbart Jerusalem.
The talks, held in the city of Ismailia, focused on Egypt’s demand to extradite jihadi insurgents that Hamas is currently detaining, the official said. These include Islamic State militants who found refuge in Gaza, as well as members of Hamas’ military wing who trained jihadists and Muslim Brotherhood militants and provided them with logistical assistance.
The Hamas delegation, led by Marwan Issa, deputy leader of the military wing, also discussed the fate of two bodies of Israeli soldiers and civilians the organization has purportedly held since 2014, the official said.
According to the official, the Egyptian delegation asked Hamas to try and complete a prisoner exchange deal with Israel promptly so that Cairo could in turn lobby Israel to lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip, which would complement steps it had already taken, such as the regular opening of the Rafah Crossing and the construction of a business district near the border.
Issa said that Hamas would be ready to consider a “respectable” deal that would primarily include the release of Hamas members who had been freed in a prisoner swap in 2011 and recaptured by Israel.
According to reports on Monday, Hamas turned down an Israeli offer of a prisoner exchange.
The Jerusalem Post reported:
Hamas reportedly turned down an Israeli prisoner-swap offer that would have allowed for one Israeli to be exchanged for one Hamas member.
According to a source from the terrorist organization who spoke with Israel Radio on Sunday, the offer proposed to exchange Hamas member Bilal Razaineh for one of two Israelis who are thought to be alive in the Gaza Strip. …
The offer was said to be a “humanitarian exchange,” due to the fact that all three reportedly suffer from mental or psychological illnesses. It was turned down because it had to be “all or nothing,” according to the source, who added that Hamas would welcome a deal with Israel that included Egypt as a mediator.
The Hamas delegation’s visit is the first since President Abdel Fatah Sisi took power in 2014. Breitbart Jerusalem reported last week that the consultations would include security arrangements along the Gaza-Egypt border and Egypt’s demand to extradite jihadi militants, but the official now says the talks also included the fate of the detained Israelis.