Gilad Shalit to be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gilad Shalit, the captive Israel Defense Forces soldier, is to be released as part of a prisoner exchange deal struck between the Israeli government and Hamas. Israel will reportedly return 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for Shalit, who will return "in the coming days" according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Shalit has been held captive in Gaza since June 2006 after he was captured in a cross-border raid by Palestinian militants.

In response to the release of Palestinian prisoners, there has been celebration in the streets of Gaza, handing out sweets and waving the green flag of Hamas. Under the deal, 450 Palestinian prisoners would be released this week and 550 more in two months. Meanwhile Shalit's family has been reported as waiting nervously in Jerusalem.