Mideast: Shalit video to be 'swapped' for 20 Palestinian prisoners

Tel Aviv, 30 Sept. (AKI) - Israel is set to receive fresh video footage of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit proving he is alive in exchange for the release of 20 female Palestinian prisoners.

Shalit has been held in the Gaza Strip since his abduction in 2006 by Palestinian militants.

The video will be handed over after a decision by Israel's security cabinet to release 20 Palestinian women held in Israeli jails, Israeli daily Haaretz said on Wednesday.

The video will be viewed as definite proof that Shalit is still alive.

A statement by the office of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it expects the deal to be carried out on Friday.

"According to the proposal by mediators, Israel will receive updated and unequivocal proof of Shalit's condition," the statement by the prime minister's office said. It did not specify a date for the release of the female prisoners.

Sources quoted by Israeli media say German mediators have already viewed the video which appears to have been filmed in recent weeks.

According to Arab sources, the armed wing of the militant Hamas movement, the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades has confirmed the deal.

Shalit has been held captive by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip for almost three years. He was seized by militants in a cross-border raid on 25 June 2006.


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