Video of captive soldier Gilad Shalit to be released shortly: After 1,195 days in captivity the Shalit family gets a sign of life in the form of a video. After holding consultiations after watching the video, the family announced it has decided to allow the Prime Minister's Office to release it to the public.
The family's media advisor Tami Shinkman said as the family watched the video, "This is a difficult moment...the family is strong and reserved as usual."
Around 1:30 pm, Brigadier-General Avi Zamir, head of the military's Human Resources Branch, arrived at the Shalit family home with the video of their son Gilad, as filmed recently by his captors in the Gaza Strip.
The family requested to watch the video in private.
Noam Shalit in at his home in Mitzpe Hila (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yishuv)
Palestinian news agency, Maan, reported that Gilad Shalit read sections from the Gaza-based "Falasteen" newspaper from September 14 on his video transferred to Israel is exchange for the release of female Palestinian prisoners. Maan also reported that the video showed Gilad Shalit standing on his feet for a few seconds in order to prove that he is in good health. According to the report, the soldier is shown dressed in an IDF uniform with a yellow background behind him.
The news agency Palestine Today reported that Shalit appeared on the video reading a recent news item in Arabic from one of the Palestinian newspaper, according to Palestinian sources in the know.
A source that watched the video said a clean-shaven Shalit can be seen talking to the camera, and that he looks healthy and sounds coherent. The source said it was clear that his captors had prepared him for the video and went to great lengths to make sure he looks well and healthy.
Defense Minister Barak said to Noam Shalit, "This focuses our need to bring Gilad home quickly."
Earlier, as Shalit's father Noam arrived at the family home, he was asked by reports if the son would allow the video's content to be made public. In response he said, "We will watch it, consider it and decide later."
Shalit's parents, Noam and Aviva, are in their family home together with head of the campaign for Shalit, Shimshon Liebman, Omer Gur-Lavi and other friends. Their other son, Yoel, also joined them. Their daughter, Hadas, is on the IDF base where she is serving and is not slated to arrive.
The police stationed officers in the area in order to direct traffic near the house. The Shalit family tried to keep expectations low and to project an air of business as usual. Noam Shalit even went grocery shopping Friday morning for the upcoming Sukkot holiday.
At 9:30 am Nahshon Unit vehicles left the Hadarim prison to the Ofer and Shikma detention facilities carrying the 19 female Palestinian prisoners slated to be released in exchange for a sign of life from captive solider Gilad Shalit.
Eighteen of the female Palestinian prisoners were released at Bitunia Checkpoint. They crossed into Palestinian territory where they were received by their families. Another female Palestinian prisoner included in the videotape deal was released into the Gaza Strip after being transported to Erez crossing in a UN convoy.
Roi Kais contributed to this report