Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a parade to mark the 11th anniversary of the Israeli assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in Gaza city, on March 22, 2015. (Xinhua/Wissam Nassar)
Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a parade to mark the 11th anniversary of the Israeli assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in Gaza city, on March 22, 2015. (Xinhua/Wissam Nassar)

Senior Hamas official Zeyad Al-Zaza said the movement’s delegation will be heading to Cairo on Sunday to resume talks with Egyptian intelligence officials to discuss issues of common concern.

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a parade to mark the 11th anniversary of the Israeli assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in Gaza city, on March 22, 2015. (Xinhua/Wissam Nassar)
 Hamas militants. (Xinhua/Wissam Nassar)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters last week that he had news regarding Israeli soldiers who went missing during the last offensive on the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014.

He said that “efforts are being pursued in this context” and that he held several meetings on this matter, without adding further explanation.

A Hamas spokesperson told Xinhua that Netanyahu’s statements “cannot be taken seriously.”

Gaza based political analyst Mustafa Sawaf told Xinhua he expects an Egyptian move in this regard, besides others attempting to find out “how many prisoners Gaza’s resistance have.”

He said that this file will figure high in the talks between Hamas and Egyptian officials, “especially that the issue of Palestinian prisoners will not continue to be closed, and that Hamas is seeking a key role for Egypt in all key issues.”

Al-Qassam Brigades has not spoken about how many Israeli soldiers are in its custody or their fate, but it has previously promised “a proud deal.”

Netanyahu previously sealed a deal with Hamas, sponsored by Egypt in October and December 2011, through which Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit was released after being imprisoned by Hamas since 2006, in return for releasing 1000 Palestinians.

On July 20, 2014, Hamas announced it captured Israeli solider Sha’ul Aron, during the land invasion into Gaza.

Shortly after, Israel announced that one of its officers was incarcerated in the south of Gaza Strip, but announced he was killed in combat two days later. Qassam militants denied the reports, then.

Netanyahu called on the international community to exercise pressure on Hamas for the missing soldiers in Gaza, and said his government “will do all it could to return them.”

This round of talks between Hamas and Egypt comes after a series of meetings last month, concluded with a statement by Hamas underscoring its responsibility to maintain the border between Gaza and Egypt and request Egyptian facilitation for the Strip.

Hamas officials said the last round of talks in February came “to open a new page with Egypt,” after Cairo accused Hamas of interfering in internal Egyptian affairs.

Political analyst al-Sawwaf said that Hamas “believes there is no alternative to the close ties between Egypt and Gaza and looks forwards to convincing the Egyptian leadership that Hamas is genuinely keen on Egypt’s security and non-interference in its affairs.”

“What Hamas hopes for, according to what it had announced after its recent meetings in Cairo, is to open a new chapter with Egypt to build upon it for the Palestinian interest, especially with regards to Gaza,” said Sawaf.

The ties between Hamas and Egyptian leaders faltered in 2013, following the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and Egypt’s accusation of Hamas intervention in its internal affairs.

After the relation between Hamas and Egypt weakened, Egyptian authorities limited the opening of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza to exceptional occasions or humanitarian cases in the past three years. Endit

Source: Xinhua

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