The British Prime Minister has congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu "and everyone involved" for bringing Gilad Shalit home safely.
As the soldier, who was captured by Hamas terrorists in June 2006, spoke to his family for the first time since he was kidnapped, David Cameron expressed hope that the "prisoner exchange will bring peace a step closer".
Mr Cameron said he was "full of admiration for the courage and fortitude which Sergeant Shalit and his family have shown through his long cruel and unjustified captivity".
He added: "I know that people across Britain will share in the joy and relief felt by Gilad Shalit and his family today. I can only imagine the heartache of the last five years."
He vowed that Britain would continue to "stand by Israel in defeating terrorism".
Seragant Shalit was released by Hamas to Egyptian mediators this morning, then taken across the border into Israel. He has had a medical check-up and according to the IDF was is in good and stable health. He is now on his way to an army base to be reunited with his family and meet the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and the IDF Chief of Staff.