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Hamas says recaptured jailbreakers must be part of swap deal

Hamas' military wing has stated that the six prisoners recaptured after a prison break must be returned in any swap deal.
Arab-Israelis gather outside the Gilboa prison in northern Israel on Sept. 18, 2021, to express their support of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, has pledged not to conclude any new prisoner swap deal with Israel that does not include the six prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison on Sept. 6. Al-Qassam spokesperson Abu Obeida said, “The leadership of al-Qassam decided that no swap deal will be made unless it involves freeing these heroes” in an announcement broadcast by Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV on Sept. 11, following the capture of four of the escapees. The remaining two were later caught Sept. 19.

Hamas claims it is holding two Israeli soldiers captured during the 2014 Gaza war in addition to two other Israeli citizens who entered the coastal enclave. Israel maintains that the two soldiers were killed in action and is seeking the return of their remains.

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