Today, October 18, 2011, after 5 years of captivity by the Hamas terror organization – Sergeant First Class Gilad Shalit will return home to his family. In exchange, Israel will release 1027 convicted terrorists in two phases.
- 16:18 PM- For the first time in over five years, Gilad Shalit finally returns to his home, in Mitzpe Hila, with his family.
- 13:08 PM- Soon after meeting the heads of the Israeli Defense System, Shalit was reunited with his family after five long years of captivity.
- 12:47 PM- Upon arriving Tel Nof Air-base, Shalit was welcomed by Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Secretary of Defense, Ehud Barak, and Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.
- 12:25 PM- Prisoner transfer into Judea and Samaria, Israel and Egypt complete.
- 11:58 AM- Gilad Shalit entered Israel. After completing initial medical examinations, he spoke with his parents on the phone. Shalit is expected to arrive at an IDF base shortly.
- 11:05 AM – IDF Spokesperson confirms: SFC Shalit had entered Israel.
- 10:35 AM – Gilad Shalit will meet IDF representatives at the Kerem Shalom crossing, where he will cross into Israeli territory for the first time in over 5 years.
- 10:27 AM – Shalit was transferred from the Hamas representatives to the Egyptian ones.
- 10:15 AM – Sergeant 1st Class Gilad Shalit was identified at the Rafah Crossing. The Prison exchange began as soon as the identification took place.
Gilad Shalit (rank at the time: Cpl.) was kidnapped early on Sunday June 25, 2006. A terrorist cell attacked Shalit’s tank that was defending the security fence near the southern Gaza Strip. The terrorists crossed the border using an underground tunnel dug near the Kerem Shalom crossing. During the attack, the tank commander, First Lt. Hanan Barak, and another soldier in the tank, Staff Sgt. Pavel Slotzker were killed. Four of the soldiers in the post were injured and terrorists kidnapped Shalit into the Gaza Strip, using the tunnel they dug.
In response to the kidnapping, the IDF began Operation Summer Rains in the Gaza Strip on June 28, 2006 and lasted through November 26, 2006. Ground forces entered the Gaza Strip for the first time since the unilateral disengagement was executed.
Sgt. 1st Class Shalit was 19 years old at the time of his abduction. He is the son of Aviva and Noam Shalit and the brother of Yoel and Hadas. Sgt. 1st Class Shalit excels in math, graduating with distinction from the science class of Manor Kabri High School. He is also a major sports fan, with a passion for playing basketball.