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Israel may offer Gaza reconstruction in exchange for detainees

Families of Palestinian prisoners call for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in Gaza City [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

The Israeli government is considering a plan to allow the full reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of Israelis held captive by Hamas since 2014, an official has claimed. Quoted by Israel Radio on Thursday, the coordinator of captive-and-missing-people issues in Israel added that, "Israel will not conclude any exchange deal with Hamas like the [2011] Gilad Shalit deal."

The full reconstruction of the coastal enclave in exchange for the Israeli citizens, said Yaron Bloom, is the type of agreement "acceptable" to Israel. He apparently made his comments during a meeting with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee. No date of the meeting was provided by the radio programme.

Israel announced the loss of two soldiers and two civilians in the Gaza Strip during its military offensive against the Gaza Strip in summer 2014. Hamas has refused to disclose the fate of the two soldiers until Israel releases dozens of Palestinians detained after the 2011 prisoner exchange deal.

READ: Israel seeks Egypt mediation for prisoner swap with Hamas

That deal was mediated by Egypt for the release of Gilad Shalit in return for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. The Israeli soldier was captured while on active duty in Gaza.

A number of Hamas officials have said in recent months that they hope to conclude a prisoner swap deal as soon as circumstances permit.

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