After more than five years of being held captive by Palestine militants, Gilad Shalit was released Tuesday morning for the exchange of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. Egypt acted as a mediator in the exchange, and Shalit was soon reunited with his family. Shalit said of the exchange, “I hope this deal will move the peace process forward.” The released Palestinian prisoners were escorted into Gaza, where they were greeted by hugs from Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.
Shalit was an Israeli army sergeant, captured while on a raid in 2006, when he was only 19 years old. He has been held in Hamas since then with no contact from the outside world, with the exception of a letter from his parents that was passed to him.