Cease-Fire in Two Days?

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CBNNews.com - CAIRO, Egypt - Egyptian mediators say they will have a truce deal within two days, an Egyptian newspaper reported.

According to al-Gomhuria, Egyptian mediators expect senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar to give the terror group's consent to their latest proposal, to which Turkish officials also contributed.

Israeli officials said the agreement includes the release of IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Corporal Gilad Shalit in exchange for opening of the border crossings with the Gaza Strip, excluding the Rafah crossing with the Egyptian Sinai.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the IDF's three-week operation in Gaza played a key role in Shalit's potential release.

Barak expects Shalit to be released before the new government is in place.

According to Israeli media sources, the outgoing government agreed to free 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit, who has been held captive since his kidnapping on June 25, 2006.

Meanwhile, the London-based Arabic dailies al-Quds al-Arabi and al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that the deal hinges on four prisoners Israel is still refusing to free.

The four are Hamas members Abdullah Barghouti, Ibrahim Hamad, Abbas el-Said and PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) leader Ahmed Sa'adat, each serving time for multiple terror attacks, including the following:

  • Passover Seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya in 2002, which killed 30, including entire families and injured 170
  • Jerusalem's Sbarro pizza parlor, which killed 15, including seven children
  • Jerusalem's Moment café, killed 11, injured 50
  • Hebrew University cafeteria, killed nine students
  • Rishon Letzion Sheffield Hall, which killed 16

Sa'adat is serving time for masterminding the 2001 assassination of former Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi.

Sources: YNet news, Haaretz

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