Senior Hamas officials urged its followers to carry out kidnappings against Israeli soldiers on Sunday, saying that they hope the abductions would result in a large-scale prisoner exchange similar to the 2011 Schalit deal.
In exchange for captive IDF solider Gilad Schalit, who was kept in captivity for more than five years by Hamas, Israel released 1,027 Palestinian terrorists from prison.
“We strive for an abduction operation that would make a second Schalit possible,” Mushir al-Masri, a top Hamas lawmaker told Palestinian media.
“Over 1,000 of our Palestinian brothers who were incarcerated in the Zionist occupation’s prisons were released as part of that deal, and only through operations similar to the Schalit deal can we hope to facilitate the release of more prisoners,” he said.
Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s political leader, echoed al-Masri’s sentiments, saying, “Hamas leadership is debating ways to secure the release of prisoners from the Israeli occupation’s prisons.”
“We would welcome any action that would bring about the prisoners’ release. They symbolize the just Palestinian struggle,” Haniyeh added.
Ever since the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in August, the Gaza-based terror organization has threatened to resume violence against the Jewish state. A spokesman for Hamas’s military wing, the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, warned the resumption of hostilities.
“The Zionist occupation has failed to destroy the Palestinian resistance. Our reaction will be blood for blood, destruction for destruction,” the spokesman stated.
He added that Hamas’s armed wing will reveal “surprising proof of how the occupation capitulated to the Palestinians’ demands and accepted nearly all of them. Our brothers, the prisoners, must be patient. Their days in jail are over and their release is closer than ever.”