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svgadminsvgOctober 17, 2011svgNews

Shalit Captors to Enter Limelight

The terrorists who held kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit for over five years will take center stage alongside Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal in Cairo when he greets the first 477 of 1,027 terrorists being traded for Shalit’s release.

Some observers, who noted Israel only promised not to pursue the freed terrorists on condition they do not return to terrorism, made no such promises about those who abducted him and held him captive.

According to the Hamas affiliated Palestine Information Center website, the trade of Shalit for the first 477 security prisoners – most of whom are terrorists – will begin at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

Quoting Hamas officials, PIC said the movement urged Arabs in Judea and Samaria to celebrate the release of the terrorists as a “moment uniting all Palestinians.”

Meanwhile, the semi-official Palestinian Authority Ma’an news agency reported chairman Mahmoud Abbas will be welcoming the freed terrorists returning to Judea and Samaria.

The PA leader is expected to deliver a festive speech before the detainees proceed to lay a wreath on Yasser Arafat’s grave.

But despite outward shows of unity the Shalit deal has created tension between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, who says their rivals in Gaza looked after their own men to the detriment of terrorists from PA ranks.

It has also raised concerns among international observers that Hamas is rapidly becoming ascendant over the PA and may move, in the future, to seize control of PA run enclaves in Judea and Samaria.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Supreme Court heard pleas on Monday from families who had lost relatives in attacks by the terrorists to be released in the exchange, as the Shalit family lawyer called for the justices not to interfere with the deal the exchange.

The high court rejected the petitions late Monday evening. Israeli president Shimon Peres has said he will sign the petitions for clemency necessary to secure the terrorists release.

Israeli security officials say the deal, hailed by much of the Israeli media, is likely to embolden Hamas and result in more terrorism and kidnappings.

For its part, Hamas has vowed the freed terrorists will return to the fight and promised more kidnappings, which it says have been proven to be a winning tactic.

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