As soon as Hamas confirmed they had made the deal to swap Gilad Shalit for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners ,there were celebrations in Gaza.
The agreement is being seen there as a major coup for the Hamas leadership .
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal wasted no time before appearing on television to explain the deal:
“In short, it is 1,000 prisoners, in addition to 27 female prisoners. This deal is split into two stages; the first stage is 450 prisoners and will be complete within a week from now, and the second will take place two months later and will include 550 prisoners.”
Families of the men, some of them jailed for life by Israel, are now awaiting word their names are on the list to be set free.
But it is not clear how many of the men who were imprisoned for attacks that caused Israeli casualties will be among them, as under Israeli law opponents of their release have 48 hours to appeal to courts to keep them behind bars.