In a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas, and Israeli soldier abducted to an undisclosed location near the Gaza Strip five years ago could go free.
According to the Associated Press, Gilad Shalit would be swapped for over 1,000 Palestinians held by Israel and accused of militant activity.
Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that Shalit would return home within days.
According to the New York Times, Khaled Meshal, a leader of Hamas based in Syria, said in a televised address that 1,027 Palestinian prisoners would be released as part of the deal, Agence France-Presse reported.
He said that the prisoners would be freed in two phases with almost 500 going free in one week and another 500 in two months.
The deal isn’t definite, Israel’s government was reportedly scheduled to meet this week to approve the deal.
Shalit, 25, is an Israeli and French national and an IDF soldier who was captured June 25, 2006 near Kerem Shalom crossing in Israel and taken as a hostage by Hamas militants in a cross-border raid. It was considered by many as a kidnapping, because the soldier has been granted none of the human rights due to a captured soldier under the Geneva Conventions that allows him to receive visits from the Red Cross and family members, among other things.
In 2009, a video was released confirming that Shalit was still alive. The two-and-a-half minute video shows Gilad facing the camera holding a newspaper from September 14. The caption reads, “Sign of life: After 1,195 days in captivity.”
“Hello, this is Gilad, son of Noam and Aviva Shalit, brother of Hadas and Yoel who live in Mitzpe Hila. My ID number is 97029,” says Shalit in the video. “As you can see I am holding today’s Falasteen newspaper published in Gaza. I read the newspaper in order to find information about myself, and in hopes of reading about information of my return home and my imminent release.”
Gilad continues, “I hope the current government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t waste this opportunity to reach an agreement and as a result, allow me to fulfill my dream and be released.”
Check out the video.