Hamas has pledged to force Israel to release thousands of Palestinian convicts.
Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Masha’al said the ruling Islamist movement would take measures to win the release of Palestinian convicts.
Masha’al did not identify the measures, but said they would be taken imminently.
“Efforts to liberate the Palestinian prisoners will be redoubled in the coming days,” Masha’al said.
In an interview with Al Quds satellite channel on April 21, Masha’al said Hamas has been studying the parameters of what he pledged would consist of another “prisoner” exchange with Israel. He said Hamas has already identified those slated in Israeli jails targeted for release.
“We did precise calculations to come up with the most appropriate prisoners to be set free,” Masha’al said. “We studied the number of prisoners, their place of residence, years of imprisonment, patient prisoners, and prisoners held incommunicado.”
In 2011, Israel released more than 1,000 Palestinian convicts for an army sergeant held captive in the Gaza Strip for more than five years.
The Israeli military has determined that many of the released Palestinians resumed activities for Hamas.The interview with Masha’al was broadcast as the Israeli military warned of renewed Hamas efforts to abduct Israeli soldiers and civilians. The military has banned soldiers from accepting rides from Israeli motorists and trained units on how to avoid kidnapping.
Masha’al, reelected in April to head the movement, said negotiations for the release of Palestinians held by Israel included such Islamist states as Egypt, Qatar and Turkey. He said abductions were the only way to force Israel to free Palestinians. “We will not rest until you are released,” Masha’al, addressing Palestinian prisoners, said. “Your families are ours. I will exert more [efforts] during my fourth term as Hamas political bureau chief.”