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US welcomes release of Israeli soldier but voices concerns over Palestinians freed in return
WASHINGTON (AP) ' The U.S. is welcoming the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit after five years of captivity despite concerns over some of the Palestinians freed in return. And the U.S. isn't saying whether the Israeli-Hamas prisoner swap is likely to affect hopes for Mideast peace talks.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that the U.S. was pleased that Schalit's ordeal was over.
But she and other U.S. officials didn't address Hamas' part in the deal or the merit of Israel's decision to free more than 1,000 Palestinians to secure Schalit's release.
The U.S. response was muted for several reasons. With the U.S.-backed peace process foundering, the disproportional prisoner trade likely will strengthen the Hamas militant group and weaken Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' (mahk-MOOD' ah-BAHS') American-backed government.