18 Oct 2010

Fresh push for release of Israeli soldier

3:16 pm on 18 October 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says fresh efforts are beign made to free an Israeli soldier.

Sergeant Gilad Shalit has been held for more than four years by the Palestinian movement Hamas.

Mr Netanyahu says that within the past few weeks mediators brokering the release have resumed talks between the two sides after months of deadlock.

He has given no details, the BBC reports, but says "many discrete efforts" are taking place to secure the release.

Both the sergeant's father and Hamas say, however, that no progress is being made. Noam Shalit told Israel Army Radio that "everything is blocked".

Hamas is demanding that hundreds of Palestinians currently being held in Israeli jails be released in exchange for Sgt Shalit, who was seized during a raid near Israel's border with Gaza in June 2006.

Mr Netanyahu has given Hamas a list of 1000 prisoners he is prepared to release, but it does not include all those named by the organisation.