shalit - Yaron Kaminsky - October 22 2011
Gilad, left, and Noam Shalit at Betzet beach, Oct 22, 2011. Photo by Yaron Kaminsky
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Gilad Shalit made his first visit to the beach on Saturday, following a prisoner swap deal last week that ended his five-year captivity in the Gaza Strip.

Shalit arrived at Betzet beach in the north of Israel with his father Noam, where they encountered Haaretz photographer Yaron Kaminsky, who happened to be there with his family.

Kaminsky then took a photograph of the Shalits, and afterward informed Noam Shalit that he had done so.

"In the last few years I have taken many photographs of the Shalit family, surrounded by countless cameras. It was nice to just run into them like that, at the beach, during Gilad's first Saturday since being freed from captivity," Kaminsky said.

"I told him I felt bad," Kaminsky told Army Radio on Sunday, saying that Gilad's father replied only: "Don't," before continuing the trip with his son.

Gilad Shalit was freed last Tuesday by Hamas in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian and Israeli Arab prisoners.

President Shimon Peres is expected to visit Shalit at his Mitzpeh Hila home within the next few days.

Members of the public continued to make their way to Mitzpeh Hila over the weekend, but are being kept away from the Shalit home itself. Some were bearing gifts, including food and flowers.

Policemen guarding the home have found themselves in the role of delivery staff, relaying the offerings to the family. Residents in the area expect the crowds to gradually taper off now that the Sukkot holiday has officially ended.