PM calls urgent cabinet meeting over possible Schalit deal

Ministers discuss approval of mediated deal for release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit from captivity in Gaza; A deal has reportedly been reached with Hamas.

Gilad Schalit 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Gilad Schalit 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is convening a special cabinet meeting Tuesday evening to approve an Egyptian mediated deal for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, government sources confirmed.
The meeting is scheduled to begin a 8 pm.
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Netanyahu was quoted on TV news as saying "the window has been opened for an historic deal" to free Shalit, captured by Hamas militants tunneling under a border fence in June 2006.
In Gaza, a source involved in Egyptian-mediated talks between Israel and the Islamist group told Reuters agreement had been reached for a swap to take place possibly as soon as in the coming days.
Government sources said that in recent days there have been a number of high level meetings in the Prime Minister's Office dealing with Schalit.  The Egyptian press has also reported in recent days visits by Israeli officials to Cairo.
Channel 2 said that Hamas's diplomatic bureau chief Haled Mashaal was expected to make comments on the issue on Hamas's TV station Tuesday evening, adding that both sides had shown flexibility as of late on a final deal.
The announcement came after last week, Palestinian and Egyptian sources denied an Al Hayat report which said that German mediator Gerhard Konrad was in Cairo for talks over a prisoner-swap deal. staff and Reuters contributed to this report.