VIDEO: Free at Last, Shalit Returns to Israel
Following more than five years in the hands of terrorist abductors, this morning, Israeli Sergeant First Class Gilad Schalit has returned to his family and to a country anxiously awaiting his return. He was welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz at Tel Nof Air Force base in Rehovot. The Prime Minister said to him: “Welcome to Israel, it’s good that you’re home.”
Following the transfer of 477 criminal detainees – many serving life sentences for terror related crimes – to prearranged release locations, Schalit was transferred from the hands of Hamas into the care of Egyptian Government representatives.
Schalit underwent medical examinations by Medical Corps personnel, who confirmed that he is in good and stable health. Some concern was expressed over his weight, indicating malnourishment, his pale skin likely from a lack of exposure to sunlight and the fact that he was limping.
Schalit met with his family at the air force base, and will be escorted by the Israeli Air Force’s 669 unit back to his home in Mitzpe Hila. He has also conducted a series of interviews for foreign media stations.