No Progress on Shalit's Release

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak returned from Tuesday's meetings in Alexandria with no new information on the release of IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit.

Cpl. Shalit was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists on June 25, 2006, in a cross-border attack on an IDF outpost near the Kerem Shalom crossing with the Gaza Strip. The terrorists killed two soldiers, wounded three and captured Shalit.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told Barak that Hamas was holding its position of refusing to negotiate Shalit's release until its demands are met.

Barak said Egypt's role as mediator is key to Shalit's return.

"We hope it will not take very long before we see concrete, intensive negotiations that lead to [Shalit's] release," Barak told Egypt's president in Alexandria.

The two men also discussed the temporary cease-fire with Hamas and the latest efforts to curb weapons smuggling to Gaza from the Egyptian Sinai.

"There has been certain improvement in this area in the last few weeks," Barak said. "The measures have been tightened, but the results are still far from satisfying because there are still smuggling tunnels," he said.

"We have raised our expectations and expect even more to be done in order to shut it [arms smuggling] down by land and by sea," he said.

Sources: Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post

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