The prisoner-swap deal between Israel and Hamas for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit was beginning to materialize, according to media reports on Thursday.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was reportedly in Cairo with a small delegation in order to finalize the deal as Schalit's family left their protest tent in Jerusalem to return to their Mitzpe Hila home in the Upper Galilee.
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Egyptian sources said that Schalit had arrived in Cairo for the finalization of the agreement as Hamas officials warned that they would not release him until Israel followed through on its end of the deal, Israel Radio reported. Israel agreed to free 1,027 Palestinian prisoners
and announced Wednesday that it would published a list by Sunday of the 450 male prisoners, and 27 female prisoners, due for release as part of the first stage of the agreement.
Hamas official Osama Hamdan said that while not the deal would not include members representing all Palestinian political or militant organizations, but that the Hamas leadership was doing its best to represent as many as possible, Hamas-affiliate Al Resalah
He said the agreement was made in line with the Palestinian prisoners' leadership in Israeli jails.
Meanwhile, Schalit's parents, Noam and Aviva, arrived at their home in Mitzpe Hila where they said they would welcome their son.
parents left the tent opposite the Prime Minister's Residence after
occupying it for more than a year, sent off by hundreds of activists
cheering that the Schalit family would finally be "going home." Yaakov Lappin and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
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