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Captured soldier's family march to Jerusalem

The family of a captured Israeli soldier is setting out on a 12-day march to Jerusalem to press Israeli leaders to make a deal with his Hamas captors to free him. Sgt. Gilad Schalit was taken captive by Gaza Strip militants four years ago.

world Updated: Jun 28, 2010 01:04 IST

The family of a captured Israeli soldier is setting out on a 12-day march to Jerusalem to press Israeli leaders to make a deal with his Hamas captors to free him. Sgt. Gilad Schalit was taken captive by Gaza Strip militants four years ago. His parents say they will camp outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's official residence until their 23-year-old son is released.

Schalit's father, Noam Schalit, said before starting the march on Sunday that the family "won't wait any longer in our home". He called on the government "to put an end to this sad saga". Thousands are expected to join the Schalits' march. Israel is reluctant to free some Palestinian prisoners Hamas wants released because they were involved in deadly attacks on Israelis.

Swap details leaked?
Israel has leaked details about a proposed swap for a soldier held by Hamas, including its willingness to free jailed militants implicated in the killing of 600 Israelis, media reported on Sunday.

Stories attributed by one newspaper to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office and by another to "government sources" said Israel told the Hamas it would include more than 100 prisoners who had killed Israelis on condition that they do not go to the West Bank but to Gaza or abroad.

Netanyahu's office declined to confirm or deny the reports.

The stories appeared as Shalit's family marked the fourth anniversary of his capture with a fresh campaign to pressure the government into securing his release.

Commentator Nahum Barnea, writing in the top-selling Yediot Ahronot, said the timing of the disclosure "reeks of a public relations stunt". Yediot said the offer, passed to Shalit's Hamas captors through a German mediator months ago, will allow the release of those who had killed up to 10 Israelis each.