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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Palestinians Seek Swap For Hostage

GAZA STRIP -- Hamas has handed over the names of Palestinian prisoners it demands Israel release in exchange for an Israeli soldier seized by Gaza gunmen 10 months ago, the Islamist group said.

"These names have been presented to the Egyptian [mediators], who in turn have presented it to the Israeli side," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Sunday. "There is a clear progress in the fact a list of names has been presented."

Barhoum gave no numbers or names. Israeli media reports said the roster listed about 1,300 prisoners, including Marwan Barghouthi, a Fatah leader widely seen as a possible successor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit was seized last June by militants from Hamas and two other armed groups who tunneled into Israel from Gaza.

An exchange deal, after months of deadlock, could be key to any progress in talks Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Abbas are holding biweekly basis at the urging of the United States.

For Palestinians, freedom for brethren in Israeli jails -- especially long-serving prisoners -- is a highly emotive issue.

Olmert has accused Abbas of failing to deliver on promises to secure Shalit's release.

Sources in Olmert's office said Israel had received the list and that a ministerial committee would meet in the coming days to decide whether to loosen criteria for releasing prisoners.