Hamas Interior Minister Said Siam, who was killed today by Israeli forces, was one of the Hamas leaders who publicly promoted the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in order to hold them hostage and exchange them for Palestinian prisoners. Siam's plan was put into action when Hamas kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006. Shalit is still being held hostage in Gaza.
The following is the statement by Siam before the Shalit kidnapping, detailing his program for Hamas to kidnap Israeli soldiers and hold them as hostages:
Said Siam, Hamas Interior Minister:
"In the past Hamas succeeded in kidnapping many Zionist soldiers.
There are thousands of prisoners of our forces, they have to think how to free these prisoners. And I believe that it is inevitable to kidnap soldiers to exchange for them.
In the past Hamas kidnapped 10 soldiers.
There is nothing the resistance cannot do. And when there is a goal and a good plan, the goal can be achieved, especially about the prisoner issue, [which] is top priority.
During the PA administration, Hamas succeeded in kidnapping and hiding bodies, but unfortunately, two bodies were handed over for nothing. When there is a kidnapping, and it is secured, each case in its own time has its own negotiations."
[Undated video clip from Abu Dhabi TV - before Hamas came into power]