The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, on Saturday denied reports about any new progress in the talks on a second prisoner swap deal with Israel.
Hamas’s spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Twitter, “There is nothing new in the prisoner’s file, and Israel is not ready to conclude a new prisoner exchange deal.”
Barhoum affirmed that the freedom of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails is a top priority to his movement, stressing that Hamas will remain loyal to their sacrifices.
Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, in early April 2016 announced that they were holding four Israeli soldiers, including two soldiers captured during the 2014 assault on Gaza.
Al-Qassam Brigades at the time said that Israel would not get any information about them without “paying a price”.
Hamas demands the release of the Palestinian prisoners freed in the Wafa al-Ahrar deal in 2011 and re-arrested later before it starts negotiations on a second prisoner swap deal.
An Egypt-Germany mediated prisoner swap deal was concluded between Hamas and Israel in October 2011, based on which Israel released 1027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was captured in Gaza in 2006.