BBC.CNN WORLD NEWS

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Giland Shalit freed in exchange for hundreds of Palestinians.

giland shalit

TEL NOF AIR BASE (AFP) - Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, appeared frail but happy, was released Tuesday after more than five years in prison by Hamas in exchange for about 500 Palestinian prisoners, under an unprecedented agreement . Event "Gilad is returned home," said the spokesman of the army, General Yoav Mordechai, by calling it "good" health status of the soldier kept secret throughout his time in captivity at the hands the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in power in the Gaza Strip. "I feel in good health" after the "long years," said Gilad Shalit himself in his first statement on Egyptian television, according to the Arabic translation of his words in Hebrew. Outlining a smile sometimes, it is nevertheless appeared pale and sometimes had to catch his breath.

Transferred from Gaza to Egypt before returning home, he thanked all those who participated in its expansion adding: "I missed my family, my friends." He also hoped that his release against that of hundreds of Palestinians "would help to achieve peace." Aged 25 years, Gilad Shalit, who also French nationality, then arrived in Israel where he met his parents in the Tel Nof Air Force Base (South), in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff, General Benny Gantz. "Gilad Hello, welcome to your return to Israel. It's good to have you home," he said Netanyahu quoting the words of a famous folk song, according to his office.

The Israeli authorities had promised a "discreet reception respecting the needs of the soldier and his family." Shalit, automatically recognized as a victim of post-traumatic stress, then return to his home in Mitzpe Hila in the Upper Galilee (north). "As good as you're back home," we read on the fronts of houses and trees in Mitzpe Hila, to celebrate the return of Gilad Shalit home. Several villagers broke into tears at the onset of its first images on television. Egyptian television was the first to show it at the time of transfer of Gaza to Egypt, wearing a cap and civilian clothes, surrounded by security personnel.

In a speech on the basis of Tel Nof, Netanyahu vowed that Israel would "continue to combat terrorism. Any terrorist who will resume its activities, the blood will fall on the head." Releasing a total of 1,027 prisoners, many with blood on his hands, Israel has agreed to pay the highest proportion to retrieve one of his soldiers. For the first time in 26 years that a captured Israeli soldier is brought alive in his country. Captured by a Palestinian commando June 25, 2006 on the edge of the Gaza Strip, the soldier was traded against a first group of 477 Palestinians - mostly lifers - including 27 women.

A second group of 550 Palestinian prisoners must be released within two months, in accordance with the agreement reached on October 11 through Egypt between Israel and Hamas. Just after the announcement of his transfer to Israel, the first group of prisoners were released in the West Bank and Gaza, welcomed by the Palestinian leadership and their families amid scenes of jubilation. A convoy of eight buses carrying some 300 Palestinian prisoners freed entered Rafah in the Gaza Strip from Egypt.

Hundreds of relatives and dignitaries, including the head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, welcomed them before they go to Gaza, where some 200,000 people were waiting as Hamas. In the West Bank, a convoy of buses carrying released Palestinians arrived in Ramallah, where ex-prisoners were welcomed by President Mahmoud Abbas. Of the 477 prisoners, 133 are allowed to return home in Gaza controlled by Hamas, and 15 117 in the West Bank to East Jerusalem. In contrast, 204 Palestinians will be banned: 164 to Gaza and 40 abroad (Turkey, Qatar and Syria).

Palestinians released, who had embarked in the convoy had been handcuffed hands and feet. More than 1,000 policemen were deployed along the routes of the convoys. Six right-wing activists who tried to stop the train by lying on the road to protest the release of "terrorists" were arrested, according to Israel Radio. In Paris, President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed the "immense relief" of France after the release of Gilad Shalit and announced that he would "soon" received in Paris. London, Berlin and Rome would also welcomed.
News by AFP

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