|In comments to the Israeli people, and to the world via Twitter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late Tuesday confirmed a deal with Hamas that would free captured soldier Gilad Shalit after five years.
"I instructed the team to put their initials on the deal last Thursday, and today it was finalized and signed by both sides," Netanyahu said at the opening of a special cabinet meeting to approve the deal, which would free more than 1,000 Palestinians jailed for terror-related charges, including Marwan Barghoutti, a leader who holds tremendous political power among Palestinians and could pose a challenge to the current leadership.
Netanyahu thanked the Egyptian security forces as well as German chancellor Angela Merkel for their respective roles in brokering the agreement. Shalit's release could come as soon as next week.
Originally posted in New York - The Jewish Week as a staff report