CAIRO, November 29. /TASS/. Palestinian radical movement Hamas has made calling a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as a precondition for its release of captured Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers in negotiations with Israel, Egyptian television channel Al-Qahera al-Ekhbariya reported on Wednesday.
According to the broadcaster, the Palestinian militants confirmed that the "conditions for the release of Israeli troops will be different." In particular, negotiations on the issue will encompass a discussion on "ending hostilities and lifting of the blockade" imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip.
Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, said in an interview with Al Arabiya television that, "it is still early and difficult to speak about the release of [captured] troops under conditions of the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people and the continuing Israeli aggression." According to him, "the termination of war is the condition for the negotiations."
Hamdan confirmed that Hamas believes it is possible to extend the humanitarian truce for several more days.
"The extension of the ceasefire for several more days is possible and the negotiating process has two directions. The first is the humanitarian direction, which stipulates the release of as many hostages as possible. The second direction is political, concerning the cessation of the aggression and lifting of the blockade from the Gaza Strip<…>which will open a door to the conclusion of an exchange deal that involves all hostages," Hamdan added.
On November 27, Qatari Foreign Ministry Spokesman Majed bin Mohammed al-Ansari said that Israel and Hamas, with the help of mediators, reached an agreement to extend the humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip by two days. Taher al-Nunu, spokesman for Hamas Political Bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh, told TASS that the new deal with Israel would be based on the same terms, i.e. three Palestinian prisoners would be released in exchange for every Israeli hostage freed by Hamas.