Israel: Blockade easing dependant on access to Shalit

This is an undated handout photo released by the Shalit family of Israeli soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit in an unknown location in Israel.

Israel will not lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip unless Hamas allows the Red Cross to visit an Israeli soldier captured in 2006.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the minimal condition for lifting the blockade is that the Red Cross be allowed regular visits to Gilad Shalit.

While that condition is not fulfilled, he said there is no reason the change the situation.

Israel has faced a growing surge of international criticism over the blockade in the wake of its seizure of an activist aid flotilla on May 31 in which nine people were killed by Israeli commandos.

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