Gilad Shalit: Went on hunger strike in captivity
Photo: Ziv Binyonski
Shrapnel taken out of Gilad's hand

Shalit went on hunger strike in Hamas captivity

New information reveals that soldier who spent over five years in Hamas captivity went on hunger strike shortly before release. Hamas' fears over losing their 'secret weapon' led to compromise, exchange deal

New revelations about Gilad Shalit's time in Hamas captivity are slowly coming out into the open. On Sunday Yedioth Ahronoth revealed that the kidnapped soldier decided to stop eating while captive and reached a point of malnutrition that put him in a life threatening situation.


According to the report, Shalit's hunger strike advanced his release as Hamas senior officials feared for his life.


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An intelligence source said that "there were those in Hamas who feared that the extreme conditions under which Shalit was being held would mean they could not offer him the help he needed and he would die on them," and so they compromised over the details of the prisoner exchange deal.


שליט במצפה הילה (צילום: מוטי קמחי)

Back home and getting better: Gilad Shalit (Photo: Moti Kimchi)


The report also reveals that Shalit was injured from shrapnel during the kidnapping which just barely missed his vital organs. The wounds eventually healed.


Newly released details also reveal that for the most part Shalit's captors did not physically abuse him, other than beatings that did not leave any long lasting or permanent damage.


The news of Shalit's abduction led to a flurry of activity in Israel in a bid to find out which organizations were behind the attack and a great deal of effort was invested in trying to locate the place where Shalit was being held.


At a certain point Israel believed the intelligence efforts would bear fruit. Information that reached Israel claimed that the captive soldier was being kept in a northern Gaza house surrounded by a wall. Israel exerted many efforts in trying to find out exactly what was going on in the house and was even considering the possibility of a rescue mission.


Luckily, they found out that Iran and Hamas were "feeding" the information to Israeli intelligence: The house was in fact empty and booby trapped. The scheme set up by Iran and Hamas was to lure the Israeli rescue forces into the house and then blow it up with the forces inside.


'Guards sentenced themselves'

The terrible disaster was averted but from that moment on, Israel had no idea of Shalit's whereabouts. The reason Israeli military and intelligence sources found it so difficult to find Shalit's location was because of the compartmentalizing on Hamas' part.


Shalit was guarded by four Hamas members who were brought in from abroad especially for the secret mission. The foreign operatives were not replaced at any time during Gilad's captivity. "The four guards basically sentenced themselves to the same conditions in which Gilad was being incarcerated," the Israeli intelligence source noted.


It was also reported that Shalit was not held in complete darkness, his cell in the basement room did get a little light through the boarded up windows.


It appears that in the six weeks since his release and his return to Mitzpe Hila Gilad has finally recuperated. Last week his grandfather Zvi Shalit told the prime minister that "Gilad has gained weight and was back to normal, just like before."




פרסום ראשון: 12.04.11, 10:28
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