ISRAELI SOLDIER GILAD SHALIT TO BE RELEASED AHEAD OF FEAST OF SACRIFICE NEXT FRIDAY
NOV 18 2009
Alhurra news network cites 'credible sources' as saying prisoner exchange deal between Israel, Hamas to take place by Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha.
American Arabic-language news network Alhurra on Wednesday reported that a deal for the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was in the "last agreement" stages.
According to the report, which cites "credible sources", Shalit is slated to be released on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha, which falls next Friday. The soldier will be released in exchange for "hundreds of prisoners", the network said.
Alhurra further informed that Shalit is slated to be released to Egypt and from there he will make his way to Israel. The details of the agreement will be made public in the coming days.
It was also reported that at the same time, Israeli Prime Minister will announce the release of Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, partly due to American pressure. These prisoners will be freed regardless of a deal.
A Hamas prisoner also confirmed on Tuesday that there has been significant progress made in talks. Speaking with Ynet, the prisoner, who is considered close to the talks and kept updated on their progress, said the advancement also has to do with the next stages of the deal as well as the names of prisoners to be included in it.
Since the release of a video showing the captive soldier alive and looking relatively healthy, no official progress has been made in the deal for his release. Reports in the Arab media have also dwindled.
Earlier this month, the Palestinian daily al-Manar reported that a swap for the release of Gilad Shalit had been finalized and awaited Israel's approval.
According to the report, all details of the deal had been worked out and the parties were waiting for the Netanyahu government to endorse the agreement.
Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into the Gaza Strip 1,242 days ago
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