'Schalit to be back home in Israel by next week'

Chief Schalit negotiator will head to Cairo in coming days to finalize details of deal; Egyptian officials meet with Hamas delegation to discuss technical arrangement of first phase of prisoner swap.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 13, 2011 14:37
1 minute read.
Gilad Schalit

Gilad Schalit 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, who has been held in captivity by Hamas for more than five years, will likely be back in Israel by next Wednesday evening, Israel Radio reported Thursday.

Schalit negotiator David Meidan will head to Cairo in the coming days to conclude the details of the deal struck between Israel and Hamas to bring kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit back to Israel after more than five years in captivity, Israel Radio reported Thursday. Schalit was reportedly already in Cairo awaiting medical examinations and official identification.

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At the same time, Egyptian intelligence chiefs were reportedly meeting with Hamas officials to discuss the technical arrangements surrounding the first phases of prisoner swap, in which 450 Palestinian prisoners are meant to be released.

French paper Le Monde reported on Wednesday that Schalit had been informed by his captors of his imminent release.

A spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committee (PRC), one of the groups responsible for Schalit's capture, said that Schalit responded to the news of his release by blaming the Israeli government for failing to complete the deal sooner, adding that he planned to sue over the deal.

Meidan on Tuesday provided some details of efforts to reach a deal with Hamas to release kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, saying Egypt was "very helpful" in facilitating the proposed exchange.

"There were six rounds of talks...we did this over several months in complete secrecy and we managed to hold them under the radar," Meidan said at a briefing.

"In the last round, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) came in and we initialed a deal without names last week," Meidan stated.

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He added that the final marathon round of talks were "24 hours long without sleep," beginning Monday at 9 a.m. and ending Tuesday at 8 a.m.

Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.

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