IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz visited the Shalit family on Wednesday at their home in the Galilee community of Mitzpeh Hila. Present in the home was the immediate family, including GIlad's grandfather, Tzvi Shalit. According to Channel 2, Gantz confirmed that Shalit will be returned next Tuesday.
Gantz was accompanied by the head of the IDF's Personnel Directorate, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai and other senior officers. During the 40-minute visit, Gantz reported to the family on the details of the swap. He said that some details were still not finalized, particularly those involving the soldier's transfer from Hamas to the Egyptians at the Rafah crossing.
Shalit will apparently be brought into Israel at the Kerem Shalom crossing, handed over to Israeli officials and then taken by helicopter to an Israel Air Force base central Israel, where he will meet his parents, Noam and Aviva, his brother Yoel and his brother's partner, Ya'ara Winkler.
Gantz did not speak to media representatives, who have been near the house since the Shalits left their protest tent in Jerusalem for home Wednesday night.
Among the visitors to the Shalit home last night were Karnit Goldwasser, the widow of Ehud Goldwasser, and Tzvi Regev, the father of Eldad Regev. Goldwasser and Regev were kidnapped by Hezbollah on the northern border in 2006, sparking the Second Lebanon War. Their bodies were returned to Israel in 2008 in exchange for Lebanese militant Samir Quntar, imprisoned for the murders of a policeman and members of the Haran family from Nahariya in 1979.
Regev said he told the Shalits and Gantz that Gilad Shalit's return was "the closing of a circle after many years that we struggled together. I am glad for Noam and Aviva and glad that Gilad is returning home. In our case everyone knows how the our boys did not return...and we wish only good things for Gilad and his parents."
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