Hamas Ends Shalit Talks

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JERUSALEM, Israel - The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has declared an end to Egyptian-brokered talks with Israel concerning the release of the captured Israeli soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit.

The announcement came after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel would not release all of the 450 Palestinian prisoners demanded by Hamas.

Included in the Hamas list were a number of terrorists responsible for the murders of dozens of Israelis.

One Hamas leader said the major sticking point not only involved how many Palestinians would be freed, but how many would be permanently deported to other countries.

Shalit's father, Noam Shalit, said Olmert had failed to gain his son's freedom.

"All that is left for us to do is to wait for a miracle," he said.

The elder Shalit said his family would continue to live in their protest tent outside the prime minister's office until Saturday, the one thousandth day of Gilad's captivity.

Another nearby tent, erected by families of the victims of terrorist attacks who opposed the prisoner exchange, has been taken down.

Khaled Abu Toameh of The Jerusalem Post reports that some Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah are relieved that prisoner exchange talks failed.

Fatah party leaders close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas believe Hamas would have scored a tremendous public relations victory in Gaza and the West Bank, had a deal been concluded.

"They were concerned that such a deal would embolden Hamas and undermine the credibility of Fatah," said one local newspaper editor.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz

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