Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal has warned that as long as Tel Aviv refuses to release Palestinian prisoners, more Israeli soldiers would be captured by the movement.
"Leaders of the Zionist entity will be responsible for any future capture of their soldiers," Meshaal said during a speech in Damascus.
Meshaal held the Tel Aviv regime responsible for the failure of a German-mediated prisoner swap deal aimed at releasing the captured Israeli soldier Giald Shalit in exchange of Palestinian captives, insisting that the regime obstructed attempts to free him.
"I say to Noam Shalit and the fathers of new prisoners, Inshallah (God willing): Complain only to your leaders, for they are the ones who foiled the last exchange deal," he added.
Shalit was captured by Palestinian fighters in a cross border operation in June 2006.
A deal brokered by Egypt and Germany for his release had reached a deadlock after Israel balked at allowing "some of the heavyweight (Palestinian) prisoners" to return to their homes in the West Bank, insisting that they instead go to the Gaza Strip or a third country.