Deal reached on prisoner exchange involving captive Israeli soldier

A spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas confirmed on Tuesday a prisoner swap deal had been reached with Israel in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit. Egypt mediated the deal.

Abu Ubeida, the spokesman, told Reuters: "We are in the process of completing the technical arrangements to complete the deal within days." He spoke as Israel's cabinet met in extraordinary session to debate the deal to free the soldier held captive in Gaza since June 2006.

The exchange will take place next month, Al-Arabiya television channel reported Tuesday.

Shalit was captured in Israel in 2006 by Palestinians in a cross-border abduction. He is believed to be in captivity in Gaza.

"The exchange deal of Palestinian prisoners for Shalit (will be) implemented at the beginning of this November, with Egyptian mediation," the television channel said, citing unnamed sources. It did not give further details.

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