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May 16, 2012

Hamas: Kidnap Israeli soldiers

The Palestinian militant group Hamas said they would step up abductions of Israeli soldiers to use as bargaining chips for Palestinian prisoners. (UPI/Ismael Mohamad)

GAZA (UPI) -- The Palestinian militant group Hamas Tuesday called for the abduction of Israeli soldiers to use as bargaining chips for prisoner swaps.

The Ma'an news agency quoted Hammad al-Ruqab, the Hamas district spokesman in Khan Yunis, as urging the kidnappings "whatever the cost." In particular, al-Ruqab said the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, should step up the kidnapping efforts.

The call came just a day after Palestinian prisoners in Israel ended a hunger strike that resulted in reforms, including a requirement Israeli authorities provide a list of charges against administrative detainees or release them. Israel also agreed to end solitary confinement and allow family visits.

Palestinians released kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit last October following five years of captivity in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

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