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Israeli-Palestinian prisoner swap to start early Tuesday

RIA Novosti

23:02 17/10/2011 GAZA, October 17 (RIA Novosti) - Israel and Palestine will exchange the first group of Palestinian prisoners for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit at 6:00 a.m. local time (04:00 GMT), Palestinian media said on Monday.

The swap will take place at the Rafah crossing point on the border with Egypt. Local authorities closed off the border crossing as a restricted area.

Israel agreed to release 1,027 Palestinians kept in Israeli prisons in exchange for Shalit last week. The first group of 477 prisoners will be released on Tuesday, including 287 sentenced for life, while the remaining 550 will be freed in two months.

Shalit, a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, was captured in June 2006, aged 19, by Palestinian militants in a raid near the Gaza Strip.

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