Ali Waked
December 8, 2009 - 1:00am,7340,L-3816813,00.html

The German mediator in talks for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit has asked Hamas to refrain from leaking details of the prisoner swap deal to the Arab press, a Palestinian source in Gaza told Ynet Tuesday.

He said the mediator personally relayed this message to senior Hamas official Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar and asked him to tell members of the organization to stop mentioning the names of Palestinian prisoners who may be released to the press.

"The mediator stressed before al-Zahar that the festival of names, especially the big names that appear on the news, are harming the ability of the government to convince the Israeli public of the correctness of the deal," the source said.

Meanwhile, the sides are divided on the number of detainees to be deported, their destinations, and the release of Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Saadat. Both the Palestinian Authority and the US would like to see the two released as a gesture to President Mahmoud Abbas and not as part of the deal.

Al-Jazeera reported Monday that the German mediator had reached the Gaza Strip and that he would relay to Hamas Israel's final answer to the former's offer.


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