Israel, Hamas Strike Deal to Free Israeli Soldier

Gilad Shalit held more than 5 years
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2011 2:37 PM CDT
Israel, Hamas Near Deal to Free Gilad Shalit
Aviva Shalit, mother of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, lights a torch during a ceremony calling for her son's release in May.   (AP Photo/Michal Fattal)

(Newser) – Israel and Hamas have reached an agreement that would see hundreds of Hamas prisoners released in exchange for an Israeli soldier's freedom. Benjamin Netanyahu went on national TV before a Cabinet vote to announce that Gilad Shalit, who was captured more than five years ago, would be free "in the coming days," reports the New York Times. Egypt brokered the deal.

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Shalit was captured in a 2006 militant raid at age 19. His cause has become popular in Israel and abroad; tens of thousands marched in support of Shalit in the summer of 2010, and his parents have lived part-time in a tent near Netanyahu's residence, the Times notes. A possible release in 2009 fell through. (Read more Gilad Shalit stories.)

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