In an exclusive interview with the Al-Aqsa TV channel, senior Hamas leader, Khalil Al-Hayya, said that Israel is not serious about reaching a prisoner swap deal, adding, “The Israeli occupation is not serious about reaching a prisoner swap… We will continue our efforts to release our prisoners using every means.”
Israel believes the bodies of two of its soldiers, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and Sergeant Oron Shaul, are being held in Gaza after they were killed in battle during the 2014 assault on the enclave. This is in addition to two alleged civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham Al-Sayed, who Hamas says are also soldiers and are being held as prisoners of war.
The Palestinian resistance movement seeks to guarantee the release of about 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for the Israeli soldiers. Israel is, however, looking to ease the siege on the Strip instead.