On the first anniversary of his capture Israeli Sergeant Gilad Shalit has been heard for the first time. But only on audio cassette. In a message broadcast by Hamas’s armed wing and broadcast on Israeli television Shalit affirmed he was alive, but that his health was deteriorating. He also called on Israel to free Palestinian prisoners.
Shalit was captured exactly a year ago when Palestinians tunnelled from the Gaza strip into Israel on a hostage-snatching mission. In Gaza City a crowd gathered outside the Red Cross headquarters to demonstrate against the fate of Palestinian prisoners some protestors say are getting less humane treatment than Shalit. More than 10 000 Palestinians are currently in Israeli jails on terrorism charges, and their release is a key Hamas demand.