Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – The head of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas said on Tuesday that he was ready to negotiate with Israel to exchange two Israeli prisoners and the bodies of two soldiers.
Hamas is ready to open negotiations to reach a deal by a third mediator, "Ismail Haniya said in a speech to the Palestinians' annual prisoner day.
The movement has previously indicated that it is ready to to reach a similar agreement In 2011, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was released in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
But Hanija's comments have been his most direct.
Two Israeli soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, are said to be it was killed in the Gaza Strip in 2014 and its remnants were killed by Hamas.
Two Israeli civilians, both of whom said they are mentally unstable, were also reported to have invaded Gaza and were held by Hamas.
19659007] They are Avera Mengistu, an Isr aeli Jew of Ethiopian descent, and a Muslim Bedouin, Hisham Al-Sayed.  Talks about a possible agreement have long been rumored, but little public progress has been made.
About 6,500 Palestinians are currently in Israeli prisons, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.