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Israel PM pledges to release 'many Palestinian prisoners' if soldier returned

[JURIST] Israel is willing to release many Palestinian prisoners [speech transcript], even long-term detainees, if Palestinian militants agree to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit [Times backgrounder], Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official website; BBC profile] said Monday. Shalit was captured in Gaza [JURIST report] on June 25, and his detention helped spark the latest round of violence [JURIST news archive] in the region over the summer.

As early as July, the Israel Defense Forces said it would support a deal to release some Palestinian prisoners [JURIST report] in exchange for Shalit, and Egyptian negotiators have also been involved [JURIST report] in prisoner trade talks. Reuters has more.

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