The first pictures of Gilad Shalit following his early morning release have been beamed around the world.
They were images many had been praying to see for five long years.
The uniform he changed into soon after seemed a little big for him, his movements a little uncertain. But the young soldier was no longer a Hamas hostage.
Shalit’s ordeal began in 2006 when militants tunnelled into Israel from Gaza and surprised his tank crew – two of his comrades were killed.
Shalit, just 19 years old, was abducted and taken back to Gaza where he soon became a cause celebre for the Israeli government and a valuable pawn for Hamas.
They secured the release of 20 jailed Palestinian women in 2009 in return for a video proving their famous captive was still alive.
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