Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier imprisoned by Hamas militants in 2006, has been handed over to Egyptian mediators after being held in Gaza for five years. He will then be transferred to the Kerem Shalom crossing between Egypt and Israel.
To secure the 25 year old’s release, Israel has agreed to free more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel. The first 477 are being released today, with a further 550 freed at a later date.
While Shalit is undergoing medical tests before being taken back to Israel, these 477 prisoners are being driven to Israel, destined either for return to Gaza or exile abroad. Hamas is preparing a hero’s welcome for the 295 prisoners returning to Gaza.
Israeli families of victims of terrorist attacks appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court to delay the swap, but the bid was rejected.