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Israel, Hamas reach Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, officials say

Announcement by Netanyahu's office comes before planned emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the details of a deal geared at securing the release of the abducted IDF soldier.

by Barak Ravid, Avi Issacharoff and Jack Khoury, Haaretz

October 11, 2011 | 1:22 pm

Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is seen in this file still image from video released on Oct. 2, 2009 by Israeli television. Photo by REUTERS/Handout/Files

Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is seen in this file still image from video released on Oct. 2, 2009 by Israeli television. Photo by REUTERS/Handout/Files

Israel and Hamas reached a prisoner exchange deal that will secure the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, officials at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Tuesday.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said that “a brief window of opportunity has been opened that would possibly lead to Gilad Shalit’s homecoming,” adding: “The window appeared following fears that collapsing Mideast regimes and the rise of extremist forces would make Gilad Shalit’s return impossible.”

The officials’ comment came following a report by Al-Arabiya, according to which a deal has indeed been reached between Israel and Hamas geared at the release of the IDF soldier, in Hamas captivity since 2006.

Netanyahu called an emergency cabinet meeting scheduled for later Tuesday in which ministers are to discuss the status of talks geared at securing Shalit’s release.

Read more at Haaretz.com.

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