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March for captive Israeli soldier ends in Jerusalem

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March for captive Israeli soldier ends in Jerusalem
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A 12-day march for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held captive by Hamas in Gaza, has reached its final stage in Jerusalem. The 23-year-old’s father has vowed to camp outside the prime minister’s official residence until his son is released.

Thousands of people have joined the march at various stages across Israel. For many the aim is to put pressure on the government to sign a prisoner swap deal with Hamas to secure the soldier’s freedom.

“I think it’s first of all a humanitarian act of support for the family, putting politics aside,” said one man. “There has been a soldier there for four years. He should not be forgotten and we should do whatever we can to keep this on the agenda until his release.”

Gilad Shalit was seized by Hamas militants in June 2006 during a raid into Israel. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu has renewed an offer to release a thousand Palestinian prisoners in exchange, but differences remain over the detail and which prisoners are to be freed.