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Haniyeh: Hamas ready for prisoner start swap deal with Israel

Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh delivers a speech during a press conference in Gaza City, Gaza on 23 January 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Chief of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh said on Tuesday that his movement is ready for a prisoner swap with Israel through third-party mediation.

In a televised speech to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, Haniyeh said: “We are ready to start talks to achieve a prisoner exchange deal via a mediator.”

Addressing the Palestinians prisoners inside Israel jails, he said: “The time when the [Israeli] occupation is to pay the price and release all of our prisoners is coming sooner or later. All of us are responsible for liberating prisoners. We do not accept the suffering to continue forever.”

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He added: “Your cause is always on the table for overt and covert discussions. We always think of using all means to break your shackles and bring you back with dignity and pride.”

Meanwhile, he said that his movement is ready to make concessions for the sake of achieving Palestinian reconciliation.

To this end, he called for holding the Palestinian National Council without excluding any factions.

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