Egyptian TV shows pictures of Gilad Schalit in Egypt

IDF confirms that Schalit has been released; David Meidan will cross into Egypt, take freed soldier through Kerem Shalom crossing; transfer of Palestinian prisoners begins.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
October 18, 2011 10:27
2 minute read.
Gilad Schalit in Egypt, Tuesday morning

Schalit in image. (photo credit: Channel 10)

 
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Gilad Schalit was waiting to cross into Israel on Tuesday after pictures of him were broadcast on Egyptian television

David Meidan, who negotiated the soldier's release, was expected to cross into Egypt and take him through the Kerem Shalom crossing into Israel.

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The IDF was beginning to transfer the Palestinian prisoners who will be released via the Kerem Shalom crossing to Gaza.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Schalit's parents earlier that the procedure to release their son was going according to plan and they would be able to see him "very shortly."

The prime minister said that Aviva and Noam, waiting at the IAF Tel Nof base in Rehovot, would be able to see a picture of Gilad "within the next few minutes."

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.

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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 will be 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.

Schalit will cross into Israel and will be 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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