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Israeli father rejects Hamas claim

  • Story Highlights
  • Gilad Shalit's father said he has not been in contact with son's kidnappers
  • Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal claimed he had told family he was still alive
  • Cpl. Shalit was abducted by Palestinian militants last year
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The father of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit said he has not been contacted by any of his son's kidnappers or their direct representatives, despite a recent statement from exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

Cpl. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Palestinian militants on June 25, 2006.

Noam Shalit told CNN on Sunday that he has spoken to Hamas leaders, including former Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad, but has not been in touch with any "relevant" elements in Hamas.

Meshaal told CNN's Nic Robertson on Friday -- in his first interview with Western television in two years -- that "we gave free information to Gilad's father and to his family that Gilad is still alive."

Meshaal also said that Hamas has reached out to Shalit's father to let him know that Hamas provided him with eyeglasses when he requested them.

Shalit told CNN that Hamas has made conflicting statements in the past about his son's health, sometimes saying he is OK and sometimes saying he is not.

Cpl. Shalit was 19 when he was captured June 25, 2006, by Palestinian militants who tunneled into Israel and attacked the Israeli army's Kerem Shalom outpost near the Gaza-Israel-Egypt border, according to Israel Defense Forces. Two other Israeli soldiers were killed in the assault.

His 21st birthday is Tuesday.

Meshaal said Hamas has put forward a list of 350 Palestinians they want released from Israeli jails in exchange for Shalit, but he blamed Israel for the breakdown of talks.

Hamas released an audiotape of Shalit in June in which the soldier said he was "disappointed by the lack of interest on the part of the Israeli government and army and that they are not giving in to the demands of" Hamas.

Israel has given up Palestinian prisoners in the past, most recently with the July release of 255 prisoners affiliated with the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other non-Hamas factions.

But Israel has also said it will not release certain prisoners accused of having carried out terrorist attacks. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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