Israeli Soldier Could Be Free Within Days

Posted October 13th, 2011 at 9:20 am (UTC-5)
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Israeli and Palestinian officials say captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit could be freed as early as Tuesday under a prisoner swap deal under negotiation.

News organizations on Thursday quoted officials on both sides as saying Shalit might initially be flown to Egypt to be released.

The reports say nearly half of the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners that Israel has promised to free could be released around the same time.

Earlier, Israeli and Palestinian officials said a plan under discussion called for the Palestinian detainees to be freed in several waves over a two-month period.

On Tuesday, Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas announced a deal to free Shalit, who has been held in the Gaza Strip for more than five years.

Syria-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said Israel will, in return, free the Palestinian detainees.

Palestinian militants captured Shalit during a cross-border raid in 2006 and took him back to Gaza. His prolonged incarceration became another sticking point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.