And apparently the reports of a pending deal were too good to be true.
Prisoner exchange talks between Israel and Hamas, geared at the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, were near their fruition, the Palestinian envoy to Russia said on Thursday.As they have since the outset, Hamas continues demanding the release of 1,000 or more terrorists from Israeli jails as part of the deal, including top terrorist like Marwan Barghouti.
The comment by Fayed Mustafa, quoted by Russian news agency RIA Novosti, came after Egypt's former ambassador to Israel ignited a rumor frenzy after he was cited in the Al Masry Al Youm newspaper as saying that the Shalit deal was just hours away.
Later Thursday the Prime Minister's Office denied that there were any significant progress in Shalit talks, a claim that was seconded by an Egyptian official speaking to Haaretz.
However, speaking with the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, Palestinian envoy to Russia Fayed Mustafa said that "negotiations between Israel and Hamas, ongoing in Cairo with Egyptian mediation, are close to completion."
The RIA report stated that the Palestinian official provided no further information.
Hamas refuses to grant the ICRC access to Shalit to confirm his state of health, and instead has demanded prisoner releases to secure a video showing Shalit was alive (that happened last year).