Report: Hamas, Israel close to prisoner exchange deal
Israel has agreed to conditions set by Palestinian factions for the release of captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. The soldier is being held in the Gaza Strip following his capture over six months ago, a UAE paper on Sunday quoted sources as saying.
The UAE daily Al-Khaleej quoted unidentified sources as saying that the Israeli government had agreed to release 1,500 Palestinian prisoners of all factions including women, minors, sick and those serving long terms. It added that the family of Shalit and the Israeli government have recently recieved a one-minute video showing that Shalit was alive unlike what the Israeli intelligence sources had recently claimed that he was dead.
The sources said that Israeli premier Ehud Olmert would declare his government’s approval of the prisoners’ swap deal during his upcoming Cairo visit. They said that the soldier would be transferred to Egypt away from the media and that Israel will simultaneously release 650 Palestinian prisoners as a first batch and two weeks later would release some 750 others. Then in early February Israel would release 100 prisoners, including senior leaders and those serving long terms.