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First Sign of Life From IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit

by Hana Levi Julian Arutz Sheva June 27, 2007

(IsraelNN.com) A promised “surprise” by the Hamas-linked Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) was posted on a terrorist website Monday afternoon – an audiotape message allegedly featuring the voice of kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

“I am Gilad, son of Noam Shalit,” begins the recording, the first sign of life from the soldier who was captured in a cross-border raid by Hamas terrorists exactly one day and one year ago.

The elder Shalit says that although the message may not have been of his son’s choosing, it is indeed his son’s voice on the tape. It was not clear when the recording was made, however, and security officials have yet to confirm whether it is truly Gilad’s voice.

The message apparently delivered by the soldier, however, is different from that announced to the media by a terrorist spokesman earlier Monday.

“It has been a year since I was captured, and my health is deteriorating. I am in need of prolonged hospitalization,” said Shalit, who spoke in Hebrew.

In contrast, PRC spokesman Abu Mujahid announced, “Shalit is alive and in very good shape. His health is good and he’s stable. We are treating him according to our religion’s instructions on how to deal with prisoners of war.”

Noam Shalit said he thinks his son’s statement that he is in poor health is a “spin” by his Hamas captors. He also dismissed his son’s statement that Israel should release prisoners in order to gain his release, saying the statement may have been made under duress.

“I am sorry for the Israeli government’s and IDF’s lack of interest in me and their rejection of the demands of Izz el-Din al-Kassam,” said his son. “It is clear that they must accept their demands if they want me to be released from prison, especially since I was part of a military operation under military instruction and not a drug dealer……I have great confidence in my government that they will focus more on my issue and accept the demands of my captors,” the recording continues.

The taped voice also talked about loving and missing his family, and that “Palestinians also have mothers and fathers, and their children must be returned to them.”

The Izz el-Din al-Kassam terrorist group is also a Hamas- sponsored military organization, one of three Hamas groups whose operatives were involved in the raid on an army base near the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza.

Repeated attempts by Egyptian and other international officials to secure a prisoner swap deal to win Shalit’s freedom all ended in failure.

Terrorists accused Israel of not cooperating, a claim repeated by senior Hamas terrorist Osama al-Musaini in a statement, also issued on Monday. “We have been flexible in every possible way when it came to a swap deal, but the Israeli side was too weak to make a decision. The ball is now in the Israeli court.”

The third terrorist group that participated in the June 24th attack, the Army of Islam, is also holding British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) journalist Alan Johnston. The Scottish national has been held longer than any other reporter kidnapped by terrorists in Gaza over the past year.

A videotape of the journalist also appeared on the internet Monday, the second this month. In that tape, Johnston was shown wearing a colored vest that he said was an explosives belt worn by suicide bombers, adding that it would be detonated if his captors’ demands were not met.

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