Khaled Meshal - October 2011
Hamas leader Khaled Meshal speaks about Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal.
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Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshal confirmed on Tuesday the prisoner exchange deal that would secure the release of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for over one thousand Palestinian prisoners.

Meshal, who praised Palestinian “steadfastness” against the “Israeli occupier” would not reveal the exact details of the deal, but stated that the “first stage” would take place within one week.

According to Meshal, 450 prisoners would be released during the first phase, while another 550 prisoners would be released in the second phase, set to take place in two months. Meshal also stated that priority has been given to prisoners who have been in Israeli prisons for tens of years.

Meshal further stated that 27 female Palestinian prisoners would also be released as part of the deal.

Meshal’s comments came in the wake of a report by Al-Arabiya, according to which a deal has indeed been reached between Israel and Hamas geared at the release of the IDF soldier, in Hamas captivity in Gaza since 2006.