Israel and Hamas reached a prisoner exchange deal that will secure the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, a report by Al-Arabiya said on Tuesday.This is confirmed by the Prime Minister's office Twitter account:
The report came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an emergency cabinet meeting scheduled for later Tuesday in which ministers are to discuss the status of talks geared at securing Shalit's release.
Al Arabiya says that Egypt brokered the deal.
Reuters quotes the channel as saying the exchange would be scheduled for the beginning of November.
If it does happen, and assuming that over a thousand prisoners are released including a couple of high-profile terrorists, it would strengthen Hamas politically, at least in the short term.
UPDATE: Hamas confirms.
UPDATE 2: Deal was initialed last week, formally signed today. "He will be coming home in the next few days."
UPDATE 3: Ma'an Arabic quotes unofficial sources that Marwan Barghouti and Abdullah al-Barghouti are among the terrorists being swapped. Also, a number of women prisoners, and six Israeli Arabs. Shalit would be transported to Egypt and then Israel would release about 1000 prisoners. Hamas claims to have received 99% of its demands.
UPDATE 4: Hamas claims that every female prisoner will be released. I did a post about many of these female terrorists in 2006.
UPDATE 5: Israel's Channel 1 is saying that the Barghoutis are not part of the deal.