Hamas leader vows to capture more Israeli soldiers

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas has vowed to capture more Israeli soldiers to use in bargaining for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Khaled Mashaal accused Israel of obstructing a deal to trade Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit for hundreds of jailed militants.

Gaza militants captured Schalit in a 2006 cross-border raid. A deal brokered by Egypt and Germany for his release had appeared close in November.

The exiled Mashaal also said America's insistence that Hamas recognize Israel was to blame for the failure of talks to reconcile the Gaza militants with their moderate Palestinian rivals in the West Bank. The split has complicated peace efforts.

Mashaal spoke Monday at a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria.