GAZA, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic Hamas movement on Thursday said it cannot confirm or deny if the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is still alive.
"The crazy war on the Gaza Strip wiped out everything so we don't know if Shalit is still alive or if he has died," Osama al-Muzini, a Hamas official authorized to speak on this issue, told Xinhua, referring to a 22-day Israeli offensive against the Hamas-controlled territory in January.
Al-Muzini, however, said Israel has to go ahead with talks to exchange Shalit for a number of Arab prisoners "whether the soldier was dead or alive."
"The Zionist enemy has to pursue negotiations without any signal confirming or denying this argument," al-Muzini added.
Thursday marks the third anniversary of Shalit's capture by Hamas-led Gaza militants in a cross-border raid at his military base near the Gaza Strip.
The Islamic Hamas movement wants Israel to free hundreds of Palestinian and Arab prisoners, including all youngsters, women and the elder, in return for the captive.
Moreover, al-Muzini denied reports that Egypt, which mediates between Hamas and Israel, has made some progress in bridging the gaps between Hamas and Israel.
"The issue is still marking time and the contacts are weak, there are no new proposals," he said, adding that the reports were "trial balloons the Zionist enemy releases."
He reiterated that Israel has to accept the captors' demands as the only possible solution to Shalit's case.