Israeli Hostage Alive: Hamas
Offer to avoid civilian targets
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2008 7:52 AM CDT
This is an undated handout photo released by the Shalit family of Israeli soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, 19, in an unknown location in Israel. Khalid Meshaal announced that Shalit is still alive.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is alive, Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal tells Britain's Sky News. "Gilad is alive and we are treating him well but Israel is treating the Palestinian prisoners they hold very badly,"  he said in an interview in Damascus, offering the first word in almost a year on the hostage, who was captured in a cross-border raid in 2006. Meshaal also offered to negotiate with Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

Meshaal renewed a 10-year-old pledge to attack only military targets if the Israelis would do the same. “We renew our offer to Israel to let the civilians on both sides not be a part of this conflict," he said. And he invited Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to discuss how to return “Gaza and the West Bank to unity and solve the security problem.”