on Wednesday night confirmed for the first time that a letter has been received from Gilad Shalit. Channel 2 reported that the letter, which was reported by Arab media in recent days, indeed exists and was received by Israel.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit expressed his optimism
on Monday regarding the chances that Shalit would be released. In a meeting with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni at the UN headquarters in New York, he said that he was very optimistic that it would happen within days.
"We will bring him," he said.
Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak also commented
on the emerging deal for the kidnapped soldier's release, and said that Israel may release more Palestinian prisoners than expected as part of the swap.
"The outlines of the agreement, which is not yet complete, affirm the release of the Israeli prisoner in exchange for an initial large batch of women and children and then the release of Palestinian prisoners in three batches," the state news agency MENA said, quoting Mubarak speaking on Sunday night.
On Friday, the Palestinian newspaper al-Ayyam reported
that Egypt handed over to Israel a letter written by Gilad Shalit, telling his father that he is alive and well.
The newspaper said the letter is the first sign of life from Shalit since his kidnapping in a cross border attack on June 25.
"This is an important development which is likely to seriously open the door for a prisoners swap deal of Palestinian prisoners in return for Gilad Shalit," the newspaper wrote.