[Updated at 3:43 p.m. ET] Israeli Army Radio reports that the exchange could involve the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including women and children.
Israeli media are reporting that Hamas will soon announce the names of Palestinian prisoners that Israel will release in exchange for the return of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
[Updated at 3:22 p.m. ET] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting Tuesday that Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit - captured in Israel in June 2006 by Palestinian militants - will be returning to Israel in the next couple of days after a prisoner exchange with the Palestinians was brokered to release his freedom.
"We will return Gilad healthy and whole to his family and all of Israel," Netanyahu said. "The negotiations were difficult... we had to make difficult decisions but (the) correct one. With all the change taking place in the Middle East we did not know if a better deal or any deal would have been possible."
[Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET] A tweet from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says: "We have concluded ardeous negotiations with
#Hamas to release #Gilad #Shalit. He will be coming home in the next few days."
A following tweet said: "the agreement to release
#Shalit was signed in initials last Thursday and today was signed formally by the two parties."
[Updated at 2:54 p.m. ET] A deal has been brokered to exchange Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Shalit, Hamas military wing spokesman Abu Obeida confirmed to CNN.
[Posted at 2:23 p.m. ET] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called a government meeting at 8 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the possible release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, an Israeli government official told CNN.
The official said Netanyahu would not have called such a meeting unless he thought that the proposals for Shalit's release were serious.
Shalit was captured in Israel in June 2006 by Palestinian militants after they tunneled into the Jewish state and attacked an Israeli army outpost killing two soldiers.
Since then, he has been held incommunicado by Hamas, the movement that controls the Palestinian territory of Gaza. There have been ongoing attempts to broker a deal to release Shalit, and they have failed. The Israeli government and Hamas have not agreed on the numbers and terms for the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel in exchange for Shalit. In October 2009, Hamas released a tape of Shalit to prove he was still alive in exchange for the release of a number of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails.FULL STORY