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Oct 19, 2011

Would-be bomber tells Gaza children to be like her

GAZA (Reuters) – A would-be Palestinian suicide bomber freed by Israel in the prisoner swap for soldier Gilad Shalit told cheering schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip the day after her release Wednesday she hoped they would follow her example.

“I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs,” Wafa al-Biss told dozens of children who came to her home in the northern Gaza Strip.

Oct 19, 2011

Day One of freedom for Mideast swap club

GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinians freed by Israel in a trade for soldier Gilad Shalit took their morning exercise on Wednesday around a luxury swimming pool overlooking the Mediterranean, instead of circling the prison yard as they have done for long years inside.

There was none of the usual breakfast-room free-for-all at Gaza’s 4-star Al-Mashtal beach front hotel. The 105 special guests, looking a little uncertain, lined up obediently to shuffle around the breakfast bar one by one, canteen-style.

Oct 19, 2011

Israeli soldier, Palestinians freed in captive swap

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and hundreds of Palestinians crossed Israel’s borders in opposite directions on Tuesday as a thousand-for-one prisoner swap brought joy to families but did little to ease decades of conflict.

In one of the biggest ever such exchanges between the two sides, a pale and gaunt Sergeant Shalit was flown to his parents’ home in northern Israel after more than five years held incommunicado by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, while a first 477 of over 1,000 Palestinians to be released under the bargain left Israeli jails for Gaza, the West Bank and abroad.

Oct 19, 2011

Israeli soldier Shalit, Palestinians freed in captive swap

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and hundreds of Palestinians crossed Israel’s borders in opposite directions on Tuesday as a thousand-for-one prisoner swap brought joy to families but did little to ease decades of conflict.

In one of the biggest ever such exchanges between the two sides, a pale and gaunt Sergeant Shalit was flown to his parents’ home in northern Israel after more than five years held incommunicado by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, while a first 477 of over 1,000 Palestinians to be released under the bargain left Israeli jails for Gaza, the West Bank and abroad.

Oct 18, 2011

Palestinians rally in prisoner-swap celebration

GAZA (Reuters) – The Gaza Strip and West Bank gave a jubilant welcome on Tuesday to hundreds of Palestinians freed from Israeli prisons in exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held for five years by the enclave’s Islamist rulers, Hamas.

Fire-crackers, klaxons and cheering carloads of flag-waving young men raised the noise level steadily in Gaza city as thousands converged on a central square for a mass rally with speeches scheduled by Hamas leaders and well-known militants just liberated in the swap mediated by Egypt.

Oct 18, 2011

Hamas releases Israeli soldier in prisoner swap – Hamas

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 saga that has gripped Israel for five years.

The source said Shalit, 25, was taken across the frontier from the Gaza Strip into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, where he was handed over to Egyptian officials who will take him to Israel’s Vineyard of Peace border crossing a short distance away down a desert road.

Oct 18, 2011

Hamas releases Israeli soldier in prisoner swap: Hamas source

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 saga that has gripped Israel for five years.

The source said Shalit, 25, was taken across the frontier from the Gaza Strip into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, where he was handed over to Egyptian officials who will take him to Israel’s Vineyard of Peace border crossing a short distance away down a desert road.

Oct 16, 2011

Palestinians prepare to welcome prisoners

GAZA (Reuters) – The last time Asma al-Kurd saw her father, she was 18 months old. That was 20 years ago, before he was sentenced to eight terms of life imprisonment for attacks that killed Israelis.

Baseem al-Kurd, now 43, is slated to be one of 477 Palestinians due to be exchanged on Tuesday for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a deal with Hamas, an Islamist group dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

Oct 12, 2011

Israel swaps more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for soldier

JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – The parents of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit folded their protest tent on Wednesday and Palestinian families awaited word on whether their loved ones would go free in a prisoner swap agreed by Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

The deal, reached five years after Shalit, then 19, was captured by Palestinian militants who tunneled into Israel and spirited him across the frontier into the Gaza Strip, stirred mixed emotions.

Oct 12, 2011

Israel welcomes Shalit swap with mixed emotions

JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – Israelis welcomed on Wednesday a major prisoner swap that will free soldier Gilad Shalit after five years in captivity in return for the release of 1,000 Palestinians, but emotions were mixed over the lopsided exchange negotiated with Hamas.

“We are proving, for who knows how many times, that each of our soldiers is a world unto himself, and we will make a supreme effort to bring him home. The deal is a tough one, but it was the best possible to reach in these conditions,” Home Front Security Minister Matan Vilnai told Israeli Radio.

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      "I have been Reuters senior correspondent in Gaza since 1996 working alongside a team of photographers and video journalists covering one of the world's perennial 'hot spots'."
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