Israel, Hamas Near Deal for Soldier's Release

Israel agrees to free 70 prisoners for Gilad Shalit
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2009 1:18 AM CST
A portrait of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas-allied militants in June 2006, is unveiled at the entrance of the 16th district city hall in Paris last year.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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(Newser) – Israeli and Hamas officials have confirmed that substantial progress has been made in negotiations for the release of an Israeli soldier captured during the 2006 Gaza war. Israel reportedly approved the release of at least 70 prisoners among the 450 Hamas is seeking for the return of the young staff-sergeant Gilad Shalit. "There is progress," Israeli President Shimon Peres told the Jerusalem Post. "I hope it will lead to a positive conclusion."