Zuhair Al-Qaisi, leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, the organization that captured Gilad Shalit, told the newspaper Al-Hayat that from the day Shalit was taken prisoner, government officials from various Arab countries passed on messages from Israel, saying that serious moves would not be made against them if they immediately released Shalit.
“We refused to respond to these threats,” said Al-Qeisi.
Al-Qaisi told Al-Hayat that Imad Hamad, who was the first person to actually abduct Shalit, and who Israel assassinated on August 18, together with the group’s previous leader Kamal A-Nirev, interrogated Shalit after capturing him. Hamad asked Shalit his name, citizenship, religion and army assignment on the Gaza border.
“Shalit was very suspicious, but he responded clearly to the questions during the first hours that he was held by the military arm of the Popular Committees,” said Al-Qaisi.
Al-Qaisi also divulged that Shalit was handed over to Hamas after a deal was struck with the leaders of the Popular Committees, because Hamas “had the capabilities and the locations which allowed them to keep the prisoner in a safe secret place,” he said.
“He had access to radio and television. We took care of him, his physical and mental health. He was not given over to any emotional or physical torture. He was lightly injured in the course of his capture, and he received the necessary medical care and completely healed,” said Al-Qaisi.
The Popular Resistance Committees’ leader also said that the negotiations between Hamas and Israel began half a year after Shalit’s capture and required great discretion in order to safeguard the place where Shalit was being held.
For more, go to Haaretz.com