Prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit video

By Jessica Elgot, September 30, 2009
Gilad Shalit

Gilad Shalit

Israel has agreed to release 20 Palestinian woman prisoners in exchange for video proof that Gilad Shalit is alive.

International aid organisations are denied access to the solider, who was captured in 2006. No news has been heard from him since a letter in 2008 and an audio message in 2007.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the decision was made because "it is important that the entire world know that Gilad Shalit is alive and well and that Hamas is responsible for his health and state."

He added: "The cabinet has decided to accept the Egyptian initiative as a confidence- building step in the frame of the indirect talks, ahead of the crucial steps in negotiations for Gilad Shalit's release, and based on the Israeli government's commitment to work determinedly to bring him home fast, while protecting the state of Israel's vital interests."

Egyptian and German mediators negotiated the decision to release the woman in exchange for the video.

German mediators are said to have already seen the video, which shows Mr Shalit, alive and healthy, believed to have been recorded in recent weeks.

Nineteen are from the West Bank and one is from Gaza, who has a child with her in prison.

Four are said to be members of Hamas, five from Fatah, three from terrorist group Islamic Jihad, one from the Popular Front, and seven are not connected with any organisation.

Hamas has previously demanded the release of hundreds of men and women prisoners in return for Mr Shalit.

Read the full list of prisoners to be exchanged.

Last updated: 3:45pm, September 30 2009