Israel denies mediation on Hamas prisoner swap deal

JERUSALEM (AA) – Israel has denied reports about Norwegian mediation to reach a prisoner swap deal with Palestinian group Hamas, according to Israeli daily Yediot Aharonoth on Tuesday.

"The report that Norway is mediating the deal regarding the POWs and MIAs [missing in action] is incorrect," an Israeli source said.

Lebanese daily al-Akhbar on Monday reported that Norway was mediating between Hamas and Israel to reach an agreement on the return of Israeli soldiers held captive in the Gaza Strip.

The newspaper claimed that a Norwegian envoy had visited Gaza last month and received a “positive response” from Hamas.

There was no comment from Hamas on the report.

In April, the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas, said it was holding four Israeli soldiers, without elaborating on their condition.

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