The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas has reached an agreement with the government of Israel which will see more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners exchanged for the release of the Israeli prisoner Gilad Shalit.
Khalid Mishal, the head of Hamas political bureau, said the exchange would take place in two phases and will include 450 prisoners to be released within the next week. The next phase, which will be completed in two months, will see the release of 550 more prisoners, including all 27 female prisoners held by Israel, as well as the 315 who were serving life sentences.
Following the news of the deal breaking residents in the Gaza Strip poured onto the streets to celebrate. Spontaneous rallies took place with cars and bicycles raising the Palestinian flag.
Residents called on Hamas to release the full list of names of all those agreed on to complete their happiness. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has ordered preparations to be made in order to welcome the prisoners on their release.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad