JERUSALEM - Vehicles carrying Palestinian prisoners began
departing from jails in Israel on Tuesday, a Reuters witness said, setting in
motion a phased prisoner exchange that is meant to secure the release of
abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit.
In the deal reached between Israel
and Hamas, Schalit will be freed after five
years of captivity in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Its
implementation is expected to take several hours.
The first vehicles that
left a jail in central Israel were carrying female prisoners, most to be freed
in the West Bank. They were accompanied by security personnel from Egypt, who
mediated the swap deal, an official said.