Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held captive in the Gaza Strip for five years, will be released after Israeli and Hamas officials agreed on a prisoner swap deal.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the announcement on Tuesday that a deal had been reached with the militant group.
Netanyahu didn't give any details of the agreement, which was mediated by Egypt, and is expected to include the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Reports are that Hamas demanded the return of 1,000 Palestinians who are being held prisoners in Israeli jails.
If all goes well, Gilad will return to Israel in the coming days, to his family and people, Netanyahu said. This was before a serious cabinet meeting was called to approve the deal.
Netanyahu said the deal has already been signed by both sides.
Today I am bringing the cabinet a proposal that will bring Gilad home healthy and in one piece, he said.
Shalit, 25, is a member of a tank crew and he was caught in June 2006 during a cross-border attack by Hamas militants who attacked an army post.
Netanyahu has been pressured strike a deal for the soldier's release, but he has said a swap would lead to dangerous militants being freed putting the security of Israel at risk.
An analyst has told The Christian Science Monitor that there will likely be an increase in popular support for Netanyahu for releasing the soldier. Additionally, it might also provide boost ties with Cairo, following a terrorist attack on the Israel-Egyptian border in August and the storming of Israel's embassy in Cairo by an Egyptian mob.
The goal is to help stabilize [Cairo], so they play a constructive role in the region, Gerald Steinberg, a political science professor at Bar Ilan University, told CS Monitor. It's to show to other countries that Egypt is still a regional power after this year's revolution.