Israel and Hamas on Tuesday morning started exchange of prisoners.   Hamas handed over Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who has been held since June 2006, to Egypt in exchange of Palestinian prisoners.

The first batch of 477 Palestinian prisoners started leaving the jails in the morning. The remaining 550 would be released next month, Haaretz.com reported.

The prisoners include militants involved in deadly bombings and other attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers.

Gilad Shalit, now 25, was abducted in June 2006 by militants who tunneled into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Many Israelis, opposed to a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas, sought Supreme Court intervention on Monday to block the Palestinians in return of Shalit.

Check out the some of the pictures of the exchange process.