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Gilad Shalit: Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange talks stalled

As the parents of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit mark their fourth Passover without their son, Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange talks that would release Sgt. Shalit have reportedly broken down over internal Hamas disagreements.

An Israeli woman holds a flag depicting captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, before a prayer calling for his release, in Jerusalem's Old City, Wednesday, in Israel. Hamas-allied militants captured Shalit during a cross-border raid in June 2006, and he is still being held captive. The text on the flag reads "Gilad is still alive".

Tara Todras-Whitehill/AP

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Nearly four years after Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit – and months after the two sides were reportedly on the verge of finalizing an agreement for his release – talks to secure the soldier’s release appear to be stalled indefinitely.

A Fatah strongman and bitter enemy of Hamas, Mohammed Dahlan, was quoted in a Jordanian newspaper this week as saying that negotiations collapsed as a result of an internal split within the Hamas leadership over the terms of the deal.

The deal, if finalized, would reportedly have released Shalit in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including militants such as Wafa al-Biss – a young woman arrested on the Gaza-Israel border in 2005 with 20 pounds of explosives sewn into her underwear.

IN PICTURES: The Israeli separation barrier: A West Bank wall


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