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Deal reached to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit

If Israel and Hamas can pull off a deal like this, what's next for the peace process?

AP reports:

JERUSALEM — Israeli and Hamas have reached a deal to free a captured Israeli soldier held in the Gaza Strip in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, officials from both sides said Tuesday, capping five years of painful negotiations that have repeatedly collapsed in fingerpointing and violence.

The deal would bring home Sgt. Gilad Shalit, who was captured in a cross-border raid in June 2006 by Palestinian militants who burrowed into Israel and dragged him into Gaza. Little has been known about his fate since then.

Mohammed Salem / Reuters

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a rally as they celebrate news of a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel, in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip October 11. Israel and Gaza's Hamas Islamist rulers agreed on Tuesday to swap more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Israeli captive soldier Gilad Schalit, resolving one of the most emotive and intractable issues between them.


Gali Tibbon / AFP - Getty Images

Friends and supporters of Noam and Aviva Schalit, parents of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit who was captured in 2006 by Hamas-allied militants in the Gaza Strip, sit at the family's protest tent on the 1,934th day for their son's captivity outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem on October 11. According to a senior Palestinian official, Israel will free key Palestinian leader Marwan Barghuti under a prisoner deal in exchange for the release of captive soldier Gilad Schalit.

Said Khatib / AFP - Getty Images

Holding a portrait of her son, the mother of Hassan Salame watches a television broadcasting the speech of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaa, celebrating a deal that will see Palestinian detainees freed in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. Salame is one of the founders of Hamas armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassan Brigades, and is the mastermind of several deadly attacks committed in Israel.

Abir Sultan / EPA

Mother Aviva Schalit and father Noam Schalit of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in the protest tent in Jerusalem on October 11.