Germany: Israel agreed Shalit deal, Hamas rejected

Gilad Shalit

Gilad Shalit

A deal to secure the freedom of Sergeant Gilad Shalit has been accepted by Israel, but not by Hamas, German officials have confirmed.

The comments by German government spokesman Steffen Seibert supported a claim by Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday about a German-brokered deal to return the soldier home more than five years after he was captured by Hamas.

The Israeli Prime Minister said the proposal "was harsh; it was not simple for the state of Israel".

But he said Israel had agreed on its terms "in the belief that it was balanced between our desire to secure Gilad's release and to prevent possible harm to the lives and security of the Israeli people."

The deal is believed to mean a prisoner swap, with thousands of Palestinian inmates in Israeli jails allowed out early in exchange for Sergeant Shalit.

However Mr Seibert said Hamas had not agreed on the terms. "So far, Hamas regrettably has not yet accepted this proposal," he said.

Last updated: 9:22am, June 28 2011