Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is freed after five years of captivity in the Gaza strip.
A gaunt and pale Shalit was flown back to Israel very much overwhelmed by the crowds and the attention. It’s clear he’ll need time to recover from his sun-deprived isolation.
After being welcomed by Israel’s prime minister it was the hug from his father Noam that the waiting media wanted to see.
Shalit has not said much about his treatment at the hands of the Palestinian Hamas millitants. He apparently told his father that he had several light shrapnel wounds. It was unclear if these stemmed from the 2006 border attack when he was abducted and two of his colleagues were killed.
Friends and villagers came out to welcome the young man back home but psychiatrists are aware once the commotion has died down, 25 year-old Gilad will need time to settle back into normal life.
Gilad Shalit’s father, Noam said:
“Today we could say we have experienced the rebirth of a son. He said that in the beginning he was treated roughly but afterwards things had improved.”
His joyful reception was tempered for some Israelis that the exchange of over 1000 Palestinian prisoners was a price too high to pay.