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Middle east

Israel rejects Hamas Shalit-prisoner swap conditions

Video by Philip CROWTHER

Latest update : 2009-03-17

Israeli outgoing PM Ehud Olmert says Israel will not accept Hamas' terms for a prisoner swap involving Franco-Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit after accusing the Islamist movement of taking an "extremist" stance.

AFP- Israel will not accept Hamas's terms for a prisoner swap, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Tuesday, adding that the Jewish state would not cave in to demands by "a terrorist organisation."

"We will not accept in any manner the conditions set by Hamas," Olmert said of the proposed prisoner swap under which the Islamist rulers of Gaza would free soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

Israel says it agreed to release 320 of 450 Palestinians Hamas wants freed, but claimed the Islamists were being intransigent.

"We have been generous in our conditions and we will not free other prisoners than those we agreed to release," Olmert said at a news conference.

"In the name of the state of Israel and its government, I declare that there are red lines that we will not cross... we will not cave in to the demands of a terrorist group," he said.

Date created : 2009-03-17