One year after Gilad Shalit was freed from captivity in Gaza, Hamas Minister Attala Abu al-Sabah called on the group’s military wing to kidnap more Israeli soldiers so they can be used as bargaining chips, in order to free Palestinian prisoners from Israel.
As the Hamas minister In charge of prisoners, Sabah spoke at an anniversary event marking Shalit’s release Thursday in Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza.
“The first anniversary of the completion of the Shalit deal emphasizes that the release of the prisoners will be achieved only through struggle,” said al-Sabah. He also called on the Palestinian Authority to fulfill its role in abducting Israeli soldiers, calling it a “religious imperative.”
The head of the terror group’s released prisoners’ committee, Tawfiq Abu Naim, said that prisoners are placing their confidence in the ability of West Bank-based groups to kidnap more soldiers.
Naim, who was freed in the Shalit deal, has gone on numerous hunger strikes in the past year to raise awareness about Palestinians in Israeli jails, he said in a YouTube clip uploaded in May. He said the main objective of hunger strikes is to end solitary confinement of Palestinian prisoners and to allow them to be visited by their families from Gaza.
Shalit was exchanged for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in a landmark deal with Hamas last October. He had been held captive and confined for over five years, and was not granted prisoner rights according to international humanitarian laws, such as visits from the International Red Cross. He was abducted while on army duty on the Israeli side of the Gaza border.