Hamas May Release Long-Held Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit

Al Arabiya reports that recent talks led to a breakthrough in prisoner exchange.

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Update 3:11 p.m.: The Israeli Prime Minister's office confirmed through its official Twitter account that the cabinet met to discuss the agreement to release Gilad Shalit, and that both parties have signed it. "We have concluded arduous negotiations with #Hamas to release #Gilad #Shalit," tweeted @IsraeliPM at 2:54 p.m. today. "He will be coming home in the next few days."

The Saudi Arabian Al Arabiya television channel is reporting that Israel and Hamas have reached a deal that will include the release of long-held Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The network reports that the deal could take place in November. Reuters and Israeli newspaper Haaretz also carried the network's report, but several other outlets, including the Associated Press and Israeli News site Y Net News were more cautious, saying a deal "might" have been reached and that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's cabinet will still have to vote on any deal. The AP adds that it will likely include Israel's release of 1,000 Palestinian militants. Shalit, who has been in captivity for over five years, is also a citizen of France, and his imprisonment was met with widespread calls from activists, the European Union, and international aid organizations for his release or for Red Cross aid.

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