Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Hamas and Israel make deal to swap prisoners

Israel and Hamas have come to an agreement to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for over 1,000 Palestinian political prisoners.

The deal, brokered by Egypt was met with jubilation on both sides of the border.

25 year old Gilad Shalit was captured in June 2006 in a cross-border raid by Hamas and has been held captive in Gaza since.

1,027 Palestinian detainees are expected to be released, said Hamas leader Khaled Meshal.

The prisoners will be freed in two phases, with 450 released within one week and another 550 within two months, after the release of Gilad Shalit.

Priority has been given to Palestinians who have served over 20 years in prison; 315 of those to be released are serving life sentences.

"We were very keen for this deal to include prisoners from across different categories, from different age groups and from the West Bank and Gaza, from Jerusalem and the Golan [Heights]." Meshal said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked "the Egyptian government and its security forces for their role in mediation and concluding the deal" in a post on Twitter, while Khaled Meshaal thanked Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, Syria and Germany for their involvement in the negotiations.

However, Yoram Cohen, head of Israeli intelligence service Shin Bet, has denied reports that popular Fatah leader Marwan Baghouti will be released as part of the deal.

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.