Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has arrived back in Israel following his release from five years of captivity, as part of a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas. Sergeant Shalit was taken from Gaza to Egypt, and then to an airbase in Israel where he was reunited with his family. Meanwhile the first of 477 Palestinians to be released have arrived in Gaza and the West Bank, amid jubilant scenes. Another 550 jailed Palestinian are to be freed next month under the deal between Israel and Hamas. Shalit, 25, was seized in 2006 by Hamas militants who tunneled into Israel.

Gilad Shalit after his release (Photo: IDF/Wiki Commons)

Gilad Shalit salutes Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after landing in IDF airbase in the center of Israel. (Photo: IDF/Wiki Commons)

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