A top Hamas commander abducted by Israeli commando troops last week will be used as a bargain for the release of a soldier held, a senior Israeli minister said on Monday.
"The ability to acquire new assets which are concretely relevant to the release of Gilad Shalit gives us a considerable advantage," Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter told army radio, referring to the Israeli soldier who was seized in June 2006.
Hamas said Mohawah al-Qadi, a senior member of its armed wing and a commander in its paramilitary Executive Force, was abducted by Israeli forces dressed in Palestinian security forces uniforms on Friday in the south of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Dichter's comments mark the first time an Israeli official has confirmed that Qadi was abducted and being held by Israel.
When asked if the top Hamas commander was also a bargaining chip, Dichter said "yes, of course."
Israel and Hamas have been holding indirect talks in an effort to broker a prisoner swap for the release of Shalit, who was captured by several Palestinian groups, in a cross-border raid near Gaza.
Last Mod: 10 Eylül 2007, 13:45