Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Update on Gilad Shalit (with video)

October 19, 2011

Israel Defense Forces medical officers arrived at the home of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Wednesday, a day after the former Hamas captive was freed in a prisoner exchange deal.

Shalit was taking a stroll outside his Mitzpe Hila home, accompanied by his mother Aviva and military mental health officials. 
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday morning, Gilad’s father Noam said his son “is doing well and he slept well overnight.”
“He needs quiet to recuperate and we hope to return to a normal life as soon as possible,” he added.
News of a visit by five IDF doctors to the Mitzpe Hila home came following reports on Tuesday that Shalit had felt unwell during a helicopter flight from Egypt’s border with Israel to an IAF base in central Israel, despite initial examinations that found the IDF soldier to be in good health.
Shalit then underwent a more comprehensive check-up before the decision was made to send him home by helicopter under medical supervision.
Speaking to reporters, Shalit’s father said later Tuesday that his son was suffering from a few minor injuries, including shrapnel wounds he sustained during his capture, as well as the effects of lack of sunlight, but other than that he was in good health.
Shalit is to undergo rehabilitation that his father said he hoped would be as swift as possible.
Shalit’s apparent physical weakness was on display during an interview with Egypt TV conducted following his exit from Gaza, in which Shalit, 25, looked tired and dazed, hesitating as he replied to questions from the Egyptian reporter.
Speaking through a translator, Shalit said he was in good health and that he hoped his release in exchange for hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons would lead to peace between the two peoples.
Upon his arrival in Mitzpe Hila later Tuesday, masses welcomed Shalit, filling the streets in a carnival-like parade singing “Heveinu Shalom Aleichim” and marching with flags as the 25-year-old Shalit was driven up to his house for the first time in five years.
Supporters who lined the street threw flowers at the IDF vehicle which transported the Shalit family to their home.