The movement's number two in Gaza discussed with the head of Egypt's intelligence services the commitments to consolidate the truce between the militias and Israel

Hamas will not make Gaza reconstruction conditional on a prisoner deal with Israel

PHOTO/MAHMOUD AJJOUR vía ZUMA - Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas leader

The leader of the Islamist movement Hamas, Jalil al Haya, has told the head of Egypt's intelligence services, Abbas Kamel, that the group will not make the reconstruction of Gaza conditional on a possible agreement on a prisoner exchange, as requested by Israel.

"As far as the prisoner exchange file with the (Israeli) occupation is concerned, it is a separate issue and we do not accept to link it to the file of the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip," Al Haya told reporters after their meeting in the Palestinian enclave today.

The movement's number two in Gaza discussed with Kamel commitments to cement the truce between the militias and Israel, after he met yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who demanded the return of two civilians and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers held in Gaza.

Kamel also met yesterday in the West Bank city of Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss measures to consolidate the truce, which ended eleven days of escalation between Israel and Palestinian militias on the 21st.

Atalayar_Milicia Hamas

Also on the table was the reconciliation process between Abbas's nationalist Fatah party - which dominates the PNA government in the occupied West Bank - and Hamas, which has been in de facto control of Gaza since 2007, when it seized power from the PNA.

In parallel, Israel and Hamas have sent high-ranking delegations to Cairo to develop ceasefire commitments.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi met on Sunday with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shukri, who called for "serious negotiations" between the parties to "stabilise the period of calm".

"Above all considerations, Israel is fully committed to the return of our soldiers and citizens who are arrested by Hamas," Ashkenazi also insisted on the terms of the truce.

A Hamas delegation is expected to arrive in Cairo today, led by its political chief Ismail Haniyeh, who is travelling from Qatar to discuss with Egyptian mediators the possibilities for a long-term truce between the Palestinian militia and Israel.