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Hamas denies holding prisoner swap talks

Members of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

Hamas denied yesterday that it was in talks with Israel related to Israelis captured in the Gaza Strip, a statement said.

"What has been released by Netanyahu's office is pure fabrication and lies to cover his failure in tackling this issue," Hamas said in the statement published on its official website.

Hamas noted that a statement issued by Netanyahu's office claimed that the families of Israeli soldiers currently held captive by Hamas were briefed on the enormous diplomatic and secret efforts being carried out by the Israeli government which aim to release the soldiers.

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Hamas' military wing Al-Qassam Brigades has said that they captured two Israeli soldiers during the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2014. Later on, Israel announced the disappearance of two Israelis also believed to be in the hands of Al-Qassam in Gaza.

In 2011 Hamas and Israel, through mediators, reached a prisoner swap. It was thought that Israel released more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners and Hamas released the Israeli soldier Jilad Shalit, who was captured from his tank on Gaza's borders in 2006.

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