Gilad Shalit: Why does he matter so much?

Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas fighters more than five years ago, sparking outrage across Israel. Now he's set to be freed in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

How many previous attempts at deals have failed?

Negotiations have been start-and-stop since Shalit’s capture.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Israel and Hamas seemed on the verge of reaching agreement in 2009, but the deal fell through. Previous attempts stalled over disagreement about which Palestinian prisoners would be released by Israel in exchange for Shalit’s release.

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