The swap deal that saw over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners freed in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit should be seen as a model for gaining the release of prisoners in the future, Hamas Gaza head Ismail Haniyeh said Thursday.
His statement, coming on the year anniversary of the deal, was made hours after another Hamas official hinted the organization would attempt to abduct more Israeli soldiers as a means of freeing prisoners.
Haniyeh, speaking at an event marking the anniversary, said the swap was an important event in Palestinian history.
“It should serve as a road map to free Palestinian prisoners in the future,” he said.
Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on June 25, 2006 in a cross-border raid. He was released on October 18, 2011 in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, many of whom had committed terrorist acts against Israelis.
Earlier Thursday, the spokesman for Hamas’s military wing, Abu Obeida, pledged the organization would release all of the Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
“I promise to release all the prisoners from Israeli prison,” Obeida said Rafah. “It is our top priority.”
Obeida added that any future deals would include all the prisoners that Israel refused to release in return for Shalit.
“The theory of the solider safe inside his fort has been shattered,” Obeida said. “The enemy soldiers can at any moment be killed, or captured, or made disabled, regardless of the weapons they have, because they are facing the soldiers of God.”
Hamas on Thursday released that tells the story of Shalit’s capture from a military position on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza.
On Wednesday night Israeli Channel 10 broadcast an interview with Shalit in which he spoke of his capture, release, and efforts to return to normal life.