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Israel trades prisoners for video of captured soldier

RIA Novosti

16:41 02/10/2009 MOSCOW, October 2 (RIA Novosti) - Israel began on Friday releasing the first of 20 Palestinian female prisoners it has agreed to exchange for a video of an Israeli soldier abducted three years ago by Hamas.

Israel has agreed to trade the prisoners for a two-minute video of Gilad Shalit, seized in June 2006 by Palestinian militants while on patrol near the Gaza Strip. He has not been seen since.

The 20 Palestinian women being released from Israeli prisons have all served at least two thirds of their sentences.

Shalit's family members have already watched the video. When asked if the video would be made public, Noam Shalit, Gilad's father, said: "We will watch it, consider this and decide later," reported.

A source that watched the video said Shalit can be seen holding a foreign newspaper dated a few weeks ago, according to

Last week, Egypt's foreign minister urged Israel to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit. Egypt is a mediator in Israeli-Palestinian talks on the issue.

In early September, Israeli authorities released nine of 30 Hamas lawmakers arrested in 2006 in response to Shalit's seizure.

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