News Reports: Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit to Be Released in Prisoner Swap

BY News Desk  October 11, 2011 at 3:15 PM EDT


This undated photo released by the Shalit family via Getty Images shows Israeli army Cpl. Gilad Shalit, taken by Hamas militants at age 19.

An agreement was reached to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured and held by Hamas militants for the past five years, in exchange for other Palestinian prisoners, Israeli and Palestinian officials said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted at 1:40 p.m. ET:

Breaking: I’m holding a special Cabinet meeting now, to discuss a deal to free #Gilad #Shalit

Reuters reported that Abu Ubeida, a spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas, had confirmed the Egyptian-brokered deal. “We are in the process of completing the technical arrangements to complete the deal within days,” he said.

Details of the agreement were sketchy but reportedly would exchange Shalit, now 25, for around 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Shalit was kidnapped on June 25, 2006, at Israel’s border with Gaza, where he is believed to be held. Two other soldiers were killed and four wounded, along with two of the Palestinian attackers.

Hamas, one of the armed groups responsible for the kidnapping, said in the ensuing days that it had taken Shalit down a half-mile-long tunnel and was holding him in a secure place, the NewsHour reported on June 27, 2006.

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