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 was he captured?
Shalit was kidnapped on June 25, 2006, in a cross-border raid by Palestinian militants based in Gaza. They dug under the border to reach an Israeli army post near the Kerem Shalom checkpoint (see map), where Shalit was patrolling the Israel-Gaza border. Two Israeli soldiers were killed and four others were wounded in the raid, while Shalit was brought into the Gaza Strip and held captive there by Hamas.
Days later, Israel staged an invasion into Gaza, trying unsuccessfully to free Shalit and stop rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. The fighting was soon overshadowed by the July 2006 kidnapping by Hezbollah of two Israeli soldiers working near the Lebanese border, which led to a month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah that summer.