IDF confirms: Gilad Schalit is now on Israeli soil

ByJPOST.COM STAFF,
October 18, 2011 10:40

Egyptian TV releases first pictures of freed soldier; Schalit passes through Kerem Shalom crossing; transfer of Palestinian prisoners through Kerem Shalom begins.

Gilad Schalit in Egypt, Tuesday morning

Schalit in image. (photo credit:Channel 10)

The IDF confirmed on Tuesday morning that Gilad Schalit is now on Israeli soil. Moments earlier, Egyptian TV released video footage of Gilad Schalit in Egypt.

The IDF previously confirmed that Schalit had been officially released and identified and would pass through the Kerem Shalom crossing.



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The IDF began to transfer the Palestinian prisoners to be released via the Kerem Shalom crossing to Gaza.

Noam and Aviv Schalit, Gilad's parents spoke with him on the telephone during an emotional conversation.


Gilad Schalit in telephone converstaion with parents (IDF)

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Egyptian military officials received Schalit from Hamas control on the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing and updated the IDF command post at the Kerem Shalom crossing of the transaction earlier on Tuesday morning.

As a result, Israel transferred all the Palestinian prisoners to be released to Gaza and the West Bank to Red Cross buses.

Upon passing into Israel, Schalit was guarded by soldiers of the Israel Air Force's 669 unit, who will accompany him until he is home safe in Mitzpe Hila.

As part of a carefully orchestrated prisoner swap, Israel was due to free 477 Palestinian prisoners during the day, with a further 550 set for release at a later date.

Overnight Monday, the IDF finalized preparations for the swap and moved all of the Palestinian prisoners slated for release to various points throughout the country from where they will be transferred to Egypt, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and inside the country.

From Rafah, Schalit crossed into Israel and was taken to a nearby base for a preliminary medical exam.

On Monday, OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo declared Israel’s border crossings with Egypt and Gaza closed military zones ahead of the swap.

After the medical exams, Schalit will be flown to the Tel Nof Air Force Base where he will be reunited with his family after more than five years in Hamas captivity.

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