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.