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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Red Cross builds Shalit pressure
Corporal Gilad Shalit
Gilad Shalit said his health was failing in a message sent in June 2007
The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross has met the Hamas leader to try to gain access to the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.

The Director General of the ICRC, Angelo Gnaedinger, met Ismail Haniya in Gaza on Wednesday.

Afterwards, Mr Gnaedinger said he was told a visit to Corporal Shalit was "under consideration and that everybody is working on a positive solution".

Cpl Shalit was seized in Israel by Palestinian militants in June 2006.

Prisoner swap

Two other Israeli soldiers died in the raid carried out by militants from Hamas and other Palestinian groups from Gaza.

The militant groups want Israel to release several hundred Palestinian prisoners in return for Cpl Shalit's release.

ICRC officials say they have raised the issue of gaining access to the captured Israeli soldier in five previous meetings with Hamas, but Mr Gnaedinger's visit was the most senior-level attempt to resolve the issue.

A statement from Mr Haniya after the meeting made no mention of any possible visit to Cpl Shalit. Instead, he said he hoped that Palestinian prisoners and the Israeli soldier would be released in an "honourable prisoner-swap deal".

The Haaretz newspaper reports that Israel has sent Hamas a new proposal in its negotiations over Gilad Shalit. No further details are given.

Quoting a senior Hamas official, the paper also says European officials from more than one country have recently begun mediating between Israel and Hamas over the soldier.


SEE ALSO
Full text: 'Shalit message'
25 Jun 07 |  Middle East
Israel army holds Shalit suspect
13 Jul 07 |  Middle East

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