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    Hamas release Israeli hostage cartoon


    by ODN


    Hamas have issued an animated video aimed at pressuring Israel into trading hundreds of jailed Palestinians for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held captive in Gaza for almost four years.

    The three-minute cartoon shows Shalit's father, Noam, pacing a dreamscape of empty streets under billboards bearing the vows of Israeli leaders to recover his son. Grown stooped and bearded, he finally receives the soldier in a flag-draped coffin.

    "There is still hope," reads the closing caption in Hebrew.

    The cartoon, which first appeared on the website of the Islamist group's armed wing was also distributed to Israeli television stations.

    It marked a dramatic departure from Hamas' fiery denunciations of the Jewish state.

    Hamas said it wanted to reach "the wide Israeli public" and end the months-long stalemate in German and Egyptian-mediated talks on a prisoner swap.