Israel's reluctance to release a group of 125 Palestinians is holding up a prisoner exchange deal, Osama al-Muzaini, a senior Hamas figure in charge of the negotiations over captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, said Wednesday.
Nearly a month has passed since the Islamist group released a video proving that Shalit is alive and well, but both sides claim a prisoner swap is still far off.
Al-Muzaini said Hamas cannot agree to a deal that would not include the release of the 125 Palestinians, all of whom are considered "heavy" prisoners.
However, he said "serious and intense" negotiations were continuing, as are "efforts to remove the remaining obstacles."
"In any case, there are no developments at this time," said the Hamas figure, "But the German mediator wants to secure an agreement, and we are pleased with his work. I hope this affair will come to an end in the very near future."
Any future prisoner exchange deal will apparently include the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit.