As part of a prisoner exchange with Israel, the militant Palestinian group Hamas in the Gaza Strip turned over Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, 25, to Egypt today.

Shalit, met with his parents at the Tel Nof airbase this morning for the first time in over 5 years, as he was in Hamas captivity.

Israel is freeing more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners that were convicted of terror attacks against Israeli civilians, in exchange for Shalit. Israeli has so far freed 477 prisoners and counting.

As reported in the Washington Post, “The deal ultimately will include the release of a total of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.”

In Shalit’s first interview he appeared to be tired and malnourished, but Shalit said he had been treated well as a prisoner and that he missed his friends and family.

In an interview with carried on Egyptian State television translated by the BBC, Shalit said that he heard the news a week ago and felt that it was the last step of his release and that he was very happy.

“I was very happy with such news,” said Shalit.

“I cannot describe my feelings at the time, however I felt that I will be facing difficult times to come,” he added.

Shalit appeared to be nervous and overwhelmed as reporters where asking him questions.

“I think the Egyptians succeeded through their good relations with Hamas and also with the Israeli side…this relation helped the conclusion of the deal,” said Shalit.

Shalit took a deep breath as he told BBC News what he missed most.

“Obviously I miss my family, a lot, and also I miss my friends…I miss meeting normal people to talk to them, to tell them about my experience through these years in captivity,” he said.

“I have a lot to do when I’m free,” he added.

When Shalit was asked if he would help campaign for the Palestinian prisoners release, he replied, “I will be very happy if all these prisoners are released, so that they can be able to go back to their families, loved ones, and their territory…it will give me great happiness if this happens.”

“I hope this deal will lead to peace between Palestinians and Israelis and that it will support cooperation between both sides,” he added, according to Haaretz.

Published by Medicaldaily.com