Tuesday, 18 October 2011

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas' leader in the Gaza Strip says the militant group has officially turned over a captive Israeli soldier to Egypt as part of a prisoner swap with Israel. In a text message, Mahmoud Zahar said Tuesday that his group is no longer holding Sgt. Gilad Schalit. Earlier, militants had whisked the 25-year-old soldier across Gaza's border to Egypt, which has acted as a mediator in the deal. Israel is freeing more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Schalit, who was captured by Gaza militants in June 2006. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below. GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas militants whisked a captured Israeli soldier across the Gaza border into Egypt early Tuesday, beginning an elaborate prisoner swap deal in which hundreds of Palestinian inmates are to be freed in return for the captured tank crewman. The officials said an SUV filled with armed men took Sgt. Gilad Schalit across the border and quickly returned to Gaza early Tuesday. Buses of Palestinian prisoners were also beginning to move from Israel into Egypt en route to Gaza, they said. A Gaza militant leader said the Palestinians were waiting until all 477 prisoners were moved into Palestinian territory before turning Schalit over to the Egyptians, who have acted as mediators in the deal. In the meantime, he said armed men would remain with Schalit in Egypt. "The captured soldier handover process is under way, and the Palestinian resistance groups are about to finalize his handover to Egypt," said Abu Mujahid, whose Hamas-allied group, the Popular Resistance Committees, helped captured Schalit in a June 2006 cross-border raid. Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV reported that a high-level Hamas delegation arrived on the Egyptian side of the border crossing in preparation for a formal handover of Schalit and to greet the returning prisoners. In an elaborate operation, Schalit was then to be taken across Egypt's border into Israel, and then flown to an air base in central Israel to be reunited with his family. Schalit's father, Noam, made a brief television appearance on his way to the base. Asked whether this was the happiest day of his life, he said: "Yes, you can make that assumption." Noam Schalit has become a ubiquitous figure in Israel since his son's capture and led a massive campaign to press the government into bringing the 25-year-old home. The deal caps a five-and-a-half year saga that saw multiple Israeli military offensives in the Gaza Strip, an Israeli blockade on the territory and numerous rounds of negotiations that ended in deadlock. Officials on both sides have said that conditions prompted in part by the recent Egyptian revolution helped drive them to an agreement. Both sides have been eager to have good ties with the new Egyptian regime, which brokered the deal. In all, Israel is slated to release 1,027 prisoners for Schalit — with the final 550 to be freed in about two months. Before dawn, convoys of white vans and trucks transported hundreds of Palestinian prisoners to the locations in the West Bank and on the Israel-Egypt border where they were to be freed. In Gaza, the Red Cross confirmed that the prisoners slated for release had arrived at the nearby border crossing. About 200 relatives of prisoners waited at a West Bank checkpoint as the exchange unfolded. "We're so excited we can barely breathe," said Mariam Shkair, waiting for her brother, 52-year-old Abdel Latif, who spent 25 years in prison for killing an Israeli soldier. "We are waiting to hug him." Some of the relatives raised Palestinian flags or the green banners of Hamas. A group of young men chanted, "We will continue our struggle." The exchange, negotiated through Egyptian mediators because Israel and Hamas will not talk directly to each other, is going ahead despite criticism and court appeals in Israel against the release of the prisoners. Nearly 300 of them were serving lengthy sentences for involvement in deadly attacks. The exchange involves a delicate series of staged releases, each one triggering the next. The Red Cross and Egyptian officials are involved in facilitating the movement of prisoners. In Gaza, Hamas militants deployed in force along the road leading into Egypt where Schalit was taken. Shortly thereafter, hundreds of returning Palestinians were slated to enter Gaza on the same road. When Tuesday's exchange is complete, 477 Palestinians held in Israeli jails, including 27 women, will have been released, several of them after decades behind bars. More than 200 prisoners, originally from the West Bank, will instead be sent to the fenced-off Gaza Strip. And some 40 prisoners will be deported to Syria, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan, Palestinian officials said. Little is known about Schalit's condition. Although he appeared healthy in the only time he has been seen in captivity — in a brief and scripted 2009 video released by Hamas — he was denied all visits, including by the Red Cross, and the state of his mental and physical health is unclear. Schalit will then be flown by helicopter to an air force base in central Israel, where he will meet his parents, as well as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the defense minister and military chief of staff. An intense media campaign to free Schalit made him a national symbol in Israel, and all local radio and TV stations held special live broadcasts Tuesday, following every step of the exchange. @yahoonews on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook Editors' Picks Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement march through the financial district of New Yorkslideshow Occupy Wall Street protests A sign reading " Please stay off the beach" is posted at Papamoa beach damaged with fuel oil from the Liberian-flagged container ship Rena stuck aground on a reef off the coast of Tauranga, New Zealand, Friday, Oct. 14, 2011. The calmest weather in days has given salvage crews hope they will be able on Friday to resume pumping the remaining fuel from the cargo ship stuck on a New Zealand reef. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)slideshow NZ ship cracking up, leaking oil FILE - In this May 29, 2011 file photo, IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon, of England, celebrates with the traditional bottle of milk after winning the Indianapolis 500 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. Wheldon died Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 in a fiery 15-car wreck during the Las Vegas Indy 300. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)slideshow IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon dies Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak points the way into an Apple store to buy a new Apple iPhone 4S in Los Gatos, Calif., Friday, Oct. 14, 2011. Wozniak waited 20 hours in line to be the first Apple customer at the Los Gatos Apple store to buy the new iPhone. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)slideshow Thousands line up for iPhone 4S FILE - This June 2007 file photo provided by Dr. William Petit Jr., shows Dr. Petit, left, with his daughters Michaela, front, Hayley, center rear, and his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, on Cape Cod, Mass. Dr. Petit was severely beaten and his wife and two daughters were killed during a home invasion in Cheshire, Conn., July 23, 2007. A trial for Joshua Komisarjevsky, the second of two men charged with the crimes, begins Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, in New Haven, Conn., Superior Court. (AP Photo/William Petit, File)slideshow Verdict in Conn. home-invasion trial slideshow Hurricane Jova slams Mexico Explore Related Content 1 - 4 of 12 Prisoner swap between Israel, Hamas moves aheadPlay Video Prisoner swap between Israel, Hamas … Palestinian Hamas militants stand guard on the main road in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, Oct. 17, 2011. The exchange between Israel and Hamas in which 1,027 Palestinian prisoners will ... Palestinian Hamas militants stand guard … Israel Radio says deal reached with … Israel Radio says deal reached with Hamas to free captured Israeli soldier. Full Story »Israel Radio says deal reached with Hamas to free captured Israeli soldier AP Play Video Egypt generals on defensive over Copt … Top Stories » Hamas militants release captured Israeli soldier At debate, focus is on fast-rising Herman Cain Panetta hopeful of Iraqi deal on US troops Lawyer: Mom of missing baby has 'nothing to hide' Election-year goals of Christian group questioned Federal judge orders more review on polar bears Doctors: Pap remains best test for cervical cancer Most Popular Your Cheating Heart: iPhone App Finds Wife With Another Man Long ties to Koch brothers key to Cain's campaign Mexican drug cartels recruiting Texas children Chinese express horror at public indifference to toddler hit-run victim Lowe's closes stores, lays off 1,950 workers Challenges loom as world population hits 7 billion Today on Yahoo! 1 - 4 of 43 Gaga shocks Clinton with song lyrics Gaga shocks Clinton with song lyrics Racer's romantic act hours before death Racer's romantic act hours before death The best places to retire in America The best places to retire in America Israeli soldier turned over to Egypt Israeli soldier turned over to Egypt All Comments Shared On Facebook My Comments ZubaidaComment Guidelines your avatar Please Enter a Comment Manage Updates Your updates will be shared through Yahoo! Updates based on your preferences. Start sharing your updates on Yahoo! to Twitter based on your preferences. Add Twitter Your update will be shared to Facebook based on your Facebook preferences. 35 comments Popular Now Newest Oldest Most Replied GastricJuices 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 GastricJuices 14 seconds ago Report Abuse Ok. Reply De Greaser 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 De Greaser 50 seconds ago Report Abuse @ Rose ... I look forward to the day when the Palestine Pukes are bombed into the stone age . Reply kristian n 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 kristian n about a minute ago Report Abuse after that just wait for a couple of years or probablyy months those palestinian people will terrorist israel again ......people who did not know the history dont jump in conclusion...6 day war 1967.....muslim is a religion of peace WHAAAAAAAAT........religion of terrorist... Reply Vince 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 Vince 3 minutes ago Report Abuse who cares? Reply rose 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down1 rose 4 minutes ago Report Abuse I lookforward for a day to see al the palestin get free . ... Reply Jenny 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 Jenny 5 minutes ago Report Abuse My friend just met a milli○naire man on Searchrich'Singles ©○m, it's where for men and women looking for companionship for a fabulous lifestyle, maybe you want to try out :) @ F. U. .... why u mad??? @#$% racist50601155816 Reply Force Recon '68-'71 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 Force Recon '68-' ... 7 minutes ago Report Abuse No matter who it is, no matter what country or religion you come from...to allow a person to go home and be with his or her family is a good thing. A very good thing. It shows you still have a tiny spark of something left inside you. It shows there is still a tiny glow of hope for us all. Reply easy money 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down2 easy money 9 minutes ago Report Abuse Who Does The Land of Israel Belong To? An Israeli Sense of Humor at United Nations set the record straight.... More 1 Reply Dave 247 2Thumbs UpThumbs Down5 Dave 247 9 minutes ago Report Abuse Funny how all of the Zionists filthy garbage men here are calling the Palestinians who are being released terrorists. They have been defending themselves against vile and violent terrorists who have brought their religious freak show to Palestine. You are no different than the Bin Laden terror... More Reply Bryan 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down1 Bryan 11 minutes ago Report Abuse So if hamas can just capture 5 or 6 more israelis they will have all of their soldiers back. If you give a mouse a cookie... then? Reply easy money 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down1 easy money 13 minutes ago Report Abuse The first day the Hamas took over after they got voted in they l killed 125 Palestinians or there (own) people . So why is this such a Victory Celebration . they'll probably kill some of these to .just as easily. and celebrate that to. Reply mama.cat 4Thumbs UpThumbs Down2 mama.cat 14 minutes ago Report Abuse It just shows that ONE Israeli soldier is worth ONE THOUSAND Palestinians! Reply G1 2Thumbs UpThumbs Down4 G1 14 minutes ago Report Abuse Israel pays a heavy price for life again, just like before. God bless you, Israel for stepping out in faith. He will not let your enemies destroy you. I thank Christ The Lord for every day. Reply rose 2Thumbs UpThumbs Down6 rose 15 minutes ago Report Abuse Why these sick jesus killer would not free all the inocent jailed palestinian right now , why they keep them for another 2 months Reply Dan M 4Thumbs UpThumbs Down3 Dan M 15 minutes ago Report Abuse Palestinians proving to the world that 1 Israeli is worth over 1,000 of their own Reply Aaron Miller 3Thumbs UpThumbs Down5 Aaron Miller 17 minutes ago Report Abuse The illegal immigrant Jews will just compensate by making more arrests and keeping prisoners longer. 2 Replies Roger 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down1 Roger 17 minutes ago Report Abuse Louis Farrakhan is having a party now Reply banjo 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 banjo 18 minutes ago Report Abuse FREE..............ATLAST... Reply Roger 3Thumbs UpThumbs Down4 Roger 20 minutes ago Report Abuse This is a no brainer...1000 stone throwing malcontents and bomb makers- who wants to feed them, house them- even look at them? Israel definitely got the better end of this deal. Reply jack33 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down2 jack33 21 minutes ago Report Abuse shalit was raped in prison. 3 Replies More Post a comment News For You Emotions high ahead of Israel-Hamas prisoner swap Israel, Hamas begin elaborate prisoner exchange Egypt sees Israel prisoner swap soon: source Palestinian sources in Gaza: Israeli soldier Schalit has been moved from Gaza to Egypt Questions linger over why CIA operative is at NYPD Mike Daisey turns his wit on Apple's Steve Jobs US, Italy discuss ending NATO air war in Libya Israel starts freeing Palestinian prisoners Israel torn by morality of Shalit prisoner swap Israel moves 430 Palestinians near prisoner swap venue Sponsored Links ( What's this? ) Official TD Ameritrade Straightforward Pricing. Powerful tools. Sign up now at TD Ameritrade! TDAmeritrade.com Health Insurance Quotes Compare Health Insurance Companies. Blue Cross, United, Aetna & More! www.GoHealthInsurance.com money market funds See today's Money Markets from 100s of Banks. Plus news, calcs, tips. www.BankRate.com World News » A convoy carrying Palestinian prisoners is seen as it leaves the Ketziot prison in southern Israel Hamas releases Israeli soldier in prisoner swap: Hamas source Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) - Gaza's Hamas Islamist rulers released captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Tuesday in return for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, a Hamas military source said, in a deal ending a … Kenya arrests two British citizens crossing into Somalia Beatrice Gachenge NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya has arrested two British citizens suspected of ties to Somalia's al Qaeda-linked rebels as they crossed the border into the Horn of Africa country, Kenyan police said Tuesday … Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate after destroying the residence of Muammar Gaddafi at the Bab al-Aziziyah complex in Tripoli NTC forces celebrate capture of Gaddafi bastion Bani Walid Barry Malone BANI WALID, Libya (Reuters) - Fighters with Libya's interim government have captured the town of Bani Walid, firing their guns into the air and hoisting the country's new flag over the center of one of … Evacuees who fled from Namie town near the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant Fukushima victims: homeless,desperate and angry Yoko Kubota FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) - At last, victims of Japan's nuclear crisis can claim compensation. 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