Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told French television that militants in the Gaza Strip will soon release a captured Israeli soldier.

In an interview to air later Friday, Mr. Abbas tells France 24 that the Palestinian government has been working for the release of the soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit. He says those efforts will soon yield results.

Shalit's abduction in a cross-border raid by Gaza militants last June sparked a major confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians.

France's foreign minister earlier this week called on the new Palestinian government to take steps, including securing the release of the Israeli soldier, before the international community will restore aid.

Shalit is a citizen of both Israel and France.

In the interview, Mr. Abbas pressed Israel to free thousands of Palestinian prisoners, but he said that is a separate issue from Shalit's release.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said he is willing to free Palestinian prisoners if the corporal is freed.

Palestinian armed factions have in the past demanded that Israel release more than 1,000 prisoners in exchange for the Israeli soldier.